Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose- Episode 8, or Someone’s Killed a Pig

After 8 shows, we finally bring this journey into the short-lived but pretty entertaining Fast & Loose to a close. I’ve genuinely enjoyed the majority of the shows here, only taking off points for messy improv, panel dissonance and attempts that didn’t work. This is a vast improvement over Trust Us With Your Life, and having strong players like Hugh Dennis, Justin Edwards, Pippa Evans, Marek Larwood and Humphrey Ker along for the right has helped things incredibly.

We finish things off with our second ‘David Armand attempts to improvise as well’ show, alongside the usuals [Justin, Humphrey, Marek, Greg, Laura Solon and, for a game, Pippa.] Let’s see if we finish strong.

World’s Worst: Job Interviews

Humphrey, with a great voice: “WHY YES, I’VE GOT MY CV RIGHT HERE, BECAUSE I’VE CARVED IT INTO MY CHEST WITH A PEN-KNIFE.”
Greg: “I would describe my managerial style as Mugabe- hard, but fair.”

Marek: “I am capable of taking a lot of things on board, as I live on a boat.”
Marek is very good at these quick-fire rounds

Justin: “well last night i had a bath and I weed in it, so yes, I CAN multitask.”
Greg: “I had a job as a gym instructor previously, I lost that job when I instructed Jim to kill himself!”

Laura talks about spearheading the Hello Kitty merchandising platform, “and their much less successful ‘FUCK OFF, KITTY, I’M BUSY’ range.
Marek, jittery: “UHHH…I’M DEFINITELY THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB YOU SEE TODAY…CAUSE I JUST KILLED EVERYONE ELSE IN RECEPTION.”

Pretty solid opening quickfire round

Greg: “my worst holiday ever was a pirate themed holiday I had…in SOMALIA, Hugh. We were only booked to go for a fortnight, I was there for 3 years.”
Great delivery

Come Dining: Justin and Humphrey are in a Kids TV program, David is from Thunderbirds, Greg is a Roman epic and Marek is Lassie

Marek’s reaction to his:
Screen Shot 2022-05-10 at 1.37.01 PM
…perfect

Justin: “….well hello.”
THAT ITSELF gets a laugh from Greg, and the audience.

Justin: “Grannies and granddads, leave the room…because…you smell!”
That feels like an early WL subversion.

David, unsurprisingly, does very good Gerry Anderson physicality, being sort of absentmindedly piqued along. Unfortunately, once he finally sits down, we get any collaboration with Justin and Humphrey edited out as Greg enters

Greg does an easy Gladiators reference, but casts David as the gladiator and Justin as a “massive tiger”

The lassie scene is exceptionally funny, because it’s Marek doing very good dog acting and the other 4 trying to translate.
David: ‘GRANDDAD DID WHAT?”
Marek: [angry scratching]
David: “THERE’S A CHILD IN A WELL?”

Marek, finally: “…someone’s killed a pig.”

I do like, after we get back to the Roman epic scene, Greg telling David “if you win, you will go onto fight…LASSIE’S PIG.” Just establishing scene continuity

David, leaving: “I’m gonna go continue the fight against the Mysterons…WAIT, HANG ON, THAT WAS CAPTAIN SCARLET!”
HAAAA
Humphrey, who has seen Thunderbirds: “YOU FIGHT THE CLAW!”
David: “THEY’RE ALL THE SAME.”

Humphrey, ending the scene: “join us on the show next week where we’ll be getting a new dog…and making it fight the old one.”

Not a perfect Come Dining, as little to none of them actually connected back to the actual dining scene, but good improv connecting, especially from David and Greg, and very good central scene. This was sillier than it was good, but it worked more than it didn’t.

Hugh asks for embarrassing moments
Justin: “I, uh, caught my scrotum in another man’s flies.”
Humphrey has a big laugh at that

Marek: “In school, when we were counting out loud, I forgot the number 10…so that incident has been forever known as 9-11.”
OH THAT’S PERFECT

Interpretive Dance: Humphrey and Laura must interpret David’s mime routine, set to Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

This is clearly one David’s done for years.

On “I shouldn’t have let you go”, David turns the ‘baby rocking’ mime he’s been doing for ‘oh baby baby’ and launches the baby absentmindedly out of his arms

‘my loneliness is killing me’ cracked me up because he brought back his ‘beating’ mime from a few episodes ago

And then, most famously, for ‘give me a sign’:
Screen Shot 2022-05-10 at 1.50.56 PM

I think this is one of his strongest routines, and a lot worked here, though a lot of it was repeats after the first verse.

Laura gets it spot-on as well.

Final note on this game: I think David fit this version much better than TUWYL, because he knew the performers and performed along with them, but pausing the improv for 5 minutes to do pre-rehearsed stuff isn’t a good move. It’s why I’ll never do Kwik Wits on here, other than the fact that there’s like 900 episodes and most of them are lost media. And look, David is very good at what he does, but this is an improv show, and it doesn’t fit. I do think it was wise to have David be part of the improv troupe as well as a guest for this, but he’s clearly not to the level of some of the others at improv. So a lot of this just stands out awkwardly in an otherwise uniform show.

On the worst gift they’ve given or recieved
Justin: ‘this is a tip for anyone who is married, don’t, as an anniversary present, buy your wife hoover bags.”
Funnier when you realize that Justin’s wife is Lucy Porter, Mock the Week alum herself. Though it’s odd to think that they’d only been married for a year or so to that point, so that was genuinely Justin’s one year wedding anniversary gift?

7-Up: Justin and Humphrey are Adam and Eve, David is an arty film director, Marek and Greg are the world’s most evil man and his henchman 

ANOTHER game that features everyone but Laura. The only non-quickfire game she’s appeared in so far is guessing in Interpretive Dance. Dan Patterson’s subconscious sexism strikes again!

Not a ton in Justin and Humphrey’s first scene, though I did enjoy Justin sprouting out of Humphrey partway through

David: “I am a big fan of Truffaut, Godard, Tchaikovsky, I screen these films to my classmates at junior school…I get punched a lot.”
…David, Tchaikovsky is a musician

Marek, playing meek perfectly: “hello, I am also VERY EVIL.”

Greg: “BUT FIRST, I SHALL TAKE OVER OUR PRIMARY SCHOOL”
Marek, in a delivery that cracked me up for some reason: “…yes, that’s a good place to start.”

Marek, after Greg details the plan: “and i’m going to draw a picture of a mouse!”
Greg: “THAT’S ALL YOU EVER DO. I’M TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD AND YOU WANT TO DRAW A PICTURE OF A MOUSE?”
Unsurprisingly, this is perfect

Justin, upon talking about how boring it is at 14, points to Humphrey’s crotch area: “what is that?”
Humphrey: “…whooooa…’ts never done that before!”
Justin: “how big is that gonna get?”
Humphrey, as only he could: “I genuinely have no idea!”
Justin: “you could hang a tie on that!”
Humphrey: “what’s a tie?”
Justin: “I don’t know, I am blissful in my ignorance”
Theirs is great!

David is already working on a film: “which is entitled, WHY? Spelt…q….”[smiles]
David’s having a much better show than last time

Greg and Marek’s second scene is great because Greg has now moved onto taking over the secondary school, and Marek still wants to “drrAAUGHA PICTURE OF A MOUSE”
Greg: “…WHY?”

Before they cut back, Marek’s very silly voice has Greg at the point of cracking

At 21
Justin: “it is freezing out here, I’ve got the wind…whistling through me lettuce…”
Humphrey, with another great move: “I’ve told you, WE’VE DISCOVERED CLOTHES NOW.”
Justin: “put a fig roll on it, you said”
Humphrey: “NO, I SAID FIG *LEAF*.”
Justin: “…right, I misheard.”
These two’s dynamic has been wonderful the whole show

David: “Luckily now I AM old enough to smoke, I’ve been holding my fingers like this…for FOURTEEN YEARS, waiting to place a cigarette in between them.”

We go to Greg and Marek, and Greg’s explaining how he’s gone into nuclear terrorism, and then he goes “what did you do”, and in the pause, we all know what’s coming. We all know the hook. So that’s funny in itself, we’re just waiting for Marek to say it.
Marek: “…I got out a PEN…”
Greg: “yes…”
Marek: “and I thought, you know, what could brighten this missile up? [LONG PAUSE] …so I drew a picture, didn’t I?”
Greg, not happy: “yes.”
Marek, after a pause, mouths “…ofaMOUSE” to us.

A very, very good 7-Up. While David’s was the weakest, he still had some good moves. Meanwhile, Justin and Humphrey had EXCELLENT improv back and forth, and Marek and Greg’s was a funny, funny scene that just built on itself as it went on.

Party Time: Bad pick-up lines

Marek: “uh, up close it looks exactly like a turkey’s neck.”
Greg: “wow, you’ve got an amazing bum, it looks like you’ve got a bin-bag full of coleslaw..”

Right Way/Wrong Way: Behaving on an Airplane. Laura and Greg are the right way, Humphrey and Justin are the wrong way

Laura immediately casts this as Qantas flight by putting on a very good Australian accent that A.) cracks up Greg and B.) reminds me what my next Whose Offseason project is going to be

Greg, as a tall person, asks to be moved to another seat “so that I don’t get full body thrombosis and die”

Hugh: “…so that’s the RIGHT WAY TO DO IT…”
Greg: [cracks]
Hugh: “…vaguely.”

Humphrey: “hey mate.”
Justin: “what d’you want, beanpole?”
Humphrey: “this seat’s bloody uncomfortable…because I’ve sat on a CHILD!”

Hugh prescribes the next scene as calling for assistance
Greg: [BING!]
Laura: “I’ve been standing over here the whole time in case you needed anything else, sir.”

Greg compliments Laura’s service, and adds “and dare I say it, [I find you] incredibly attractive”
THEN, ONCE AGAIN HE REMEMBERS HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE THE RIGHT WAY
Screen Shot 2022-05-10 at 2.56.54 PM

Humphrey, perfectly: “I have trapped myself…in the tray.”
And Justin looks over and the desired effect is reached.

Laura, in the meal portion, again throws in the sexual undertones, saying “I will do whatever it takes…and WHEREver.”
And there’s this very fun silent bit where Greg takes the menu, and Laura’s hand. And there’s the slightest sensual undertone, before Greg subverts it, and hands the menu back, going ‘I’ll have the chicken please.”

Humphrey, knowing the hook of the other scene: “have ya got any nuts?”
Justin:
Screen Shot 2022-05-10 at 3.01.19 PM
Humphrey, with a perfect move: “and by the way, I’m still trapped in the tray.”

Pretty good round of this. Like usual tonight, the Humphrey-Justin combo won out, though I loved Laura’s improv moves [so rare tonight] and Greg’s inability to stay lawful good.

Sideways Scene: Pippa and Justin are two midwestern farmers who are milking in the cow shed when farmhand Marek arrives to warn them that a twister is on the way

There’s some initial funny stuff with the lack of an actual cow, and some of the usual physicality. I notice that Pippa is actually doing a southern accent and Justin is not

Marek enters, yells ‘GEE WILLIKERS’, and slams right into the door. What a talent. This repeated struggle with the door gets Laura and David laughing
This bit is entirely silly, and just Marek nailing this game by being ridiculous and forgoing timing.

For vampire movie style, Justin gets a smart idea:
Screen Shot 2022-05-10 at 3.53.07 PM

I also love Marek struggling to rise up from a coffin

The action movie style ends with only Pippa on the mat. So I love the start of the Alien style, where Justin just absentmindedly rolls in from above

We end with Marek mindmelding with Justin at the right time and bursting through Justin’s chest. That’s fantastic.

Par for the course for this game, but I did like some of the improv moves, albeit the quieter ones.

Overall: A solid enough show that ends us on a pretty decent note, if not quite to the heights this show previously reached. 7 Up, Right Way/Wrong Way and the opening quickfire were good here, and the best moments came from the Justin-Humphrey combo, Marek’s wild card sensibilities, or the rare moments where Dan Patterson actually let a woman improvise. I really wish Laura, and Pippa honestly, was able to do more here, though she was strong at every opportunity they gave her [all…one of them]. David was better than in E4 but still not a natural improviser. Sideways Scene and Come Dining have been done enough times that these ones didn’t stand out. Still, some good enough stuff, and a fine way for the show to go out.

Best Performer: Greg Davies had the most natural command tonight, though I really thought Justin would be in this spot.
Worst Performer: I hate to say it, but David had more good improv moves make air than Laura, so Laura goes here. I hate that Dan continued to be so male-centric.
Best Game: 7 Up. The comedic timing in Marek and Greg’s and the excellent improv back-and-forth in Humphrey and Justin’s made this a given.
Worst Game: Sideways Scene came and went, as it does.

FAST & LOOSE SUPERLATIVES:
Best Episode: E5, the strongest this troupe has seemed, with landmark playings of 7-Up and Dragon’s Lair, and some very fun, lawfully crazy improv moves in Sideways Scene and Come Dining.
Worst Episode: E3, with the messiest improv, a lot of mistakes [courtesy of David], and a lot of games that didn’t work as well as other playings.
Best Regular: Justin Edwards, as a solid backbone of the show, and a reliable character performer with a ton of range. If Whose Line ever returns as a UK product, I think he’d make a great regular.
Best Recurring Performer: Marek Larwood, capable of the wildest shit that made me laugh.
Worst Performer: Tom Parry, E6. Just off-step with the other performers.
Most Underutilized Performer: TIE: Laura Solon, Ruth Bratt & Jess Ransom. Notice a theme?
Best New Game: Right Way/Wrong Way. Something very funny about the contrasts in this game. Honorable mention goes to Weak Links, which would be a funny LMAD replacement and made a great use of Hugh.
Worst New Game: Upside Down, E4. What the hell was the point of this game?
Best Innovation: Bringing episodic scene improv, such as in Come Dining and 7 Up, into the fold.
Worst Innovation: Bridging the show around both Interpretive Dance and Sideways Scene.

Fast & Loose, for the most part, worked. Of the eight episode that aired, I’d say that five of them qualify as really good improv episodes, and the rest are a bit more okay or flawed. The trick was making sure the troupe was all on the same page, and keeping the rep company together rather than throwing in too many outliers made for the better episodes [E1, E5, E7 & E8]. The show also benefitted from a genius host booking in Hugh Dennis, whose off the cuff abilities aided games and interstitials. The things that held the show back included distracting from the pure improv with games like Interpretive Dance and Sideways Scene, distracting from the main troupe by bringing in Jonathan Mangum and Wayne Brady for 2 shows [those episodes felt different than the rest of the run], and continuing to edit female performers less than their male counterparts. I would have loved to see more of this show, just to see how things would even out and how the formula would change, but I can also see why it didn’t completely succeed.

Still, I’m glad I watched it, and I’m firm in my belief that it’s better than Trust Us With Your Life.

Back to MTW and Whose Line for a bit, but the next project in the Whose Offseason series, which won’t be til a bit later this year, will be another attempt to establish a new improv scene, this time a little further south.

Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose- Episode 7, or I’m Going to be Sick Again

The last two episodes of Fast & Loose have the same main repertory group, including our regulars, Justin Edwards, Pippa Evans, Humphrey Ker and David Armand, and the usual guests, Greg Davies, Laura Solon and Marek Larwood. Just this show has Pippa as a performer and next episode has David as a performer…which I didn’t think he was great at the first time around. Regardless, these shows do have what I think is the heart of the lineup, though I do wish we’d gotten more from David, Jess and Ruth.

In terms of the opening performer intros, the funniest one is Hugh saying Marek “can’t be within 30 feet of Dannii Minogue’

World’s Worst: Thing to say while speed dating

For some reason, the buzzer sounds different this show.

Greg: “in the event that we do have children, I’m afraid you’ll have to raise them, as i’m not allowed to spend time with them”

I love Pippa’s rude Irish song, ending with “BUT SHE BUST IN HIS HOUSE AND THEN CUT OFF HIS BALLS”, and her looking confused by the reaction

Marek:
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 3.27.12 PM
“erm, I’m good with faces but I’m really bad with directions”
YES!

Pippa:
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 3.28.46 PM
“THERE’S ROOM FOR ONE MORE”
Jesus!

Greg: “Yes, don’t worry about the carrier bag, I always carry that with me, better that than you see the naked horror of the prolapse”
GOOD LORD, WE’RE STARTING THE SHOW OFF THIS GROSS?
[then again, we did end the last show on ‘EAT THE KANGAROO’S PENIS’, so what do i know about taste?]

Laura: “I have only got one egg left, so DON’T FUCK THIS UP.”
Laura’s so underrated on this show

Really strong quickfire round to start us off. Good stuff from pretty much everybody, though the women came out to a nice lead

Hugh asks the performers to describe him in one line
Justin: “Brother of Les”
Hugh:
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 3.33.35 PMScreen Shot 2022-05-03 at 3.33.52 PM
Sometimes the subtle facial expressions are the best part

Marek: “I’d say you were…nice in the lounge, but really nasty in the bedroom.”
Hugh: [nods approvingly]

Weak Links: Justin is a right wing bigot, Humphrey is in a british war film, Laura is a clueless teenage girl and Marek is turning into a werewolf

Hugh: “Justin, you are a right-wing bigot”
Justin: “I know”

In the introductory round I already love Laura’s energy.
Marek, already: “I’m, uh,…OH NO…I’M EITHER DOING A SHIT OR GROWING A TAIL.”
I love that Hugh has to interrupt Marek’s cries of pain to start the game

Justin: “well, X stands for Xmas, although we don’t have any Christmas anymore since the Muslims banned it”
[lol, just in time for Eid]

Hugh reveals the x was xenophobia
Justin: “yes, the fear of zen, of buddhists, I’ve no time for them either.”
Justin is very good at this character

Humphrey’s reminds me that what might be his most flagrant traits is his extremely funny yelling voice, which makes him kind of similar to Ed Gamble or even Steen Raskopoulos

Laura, after a lot of stammering: “I really don’t know and I’ve slightly forgotten who I am”

I love that, after the umpteenth annoyed ‘OH NOOOO’ from Marek, we briefly cut to Justin trying desperately hard not to crack up. Marek’s question ends up being cut, so whatever it is it got a laugh out of Justin.

Humphrey: “so many dead, and for what? Mustard questions?…not in the England I dreamed of.”

Laura is very good at working off of Marek, saying “I really would like to change places”
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 3.56.49 PM
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 3.59.32 PMYeah, this quirk was perfect for Marek

And then Marek starts humping the podium. “I’VE JUST GOT THIS COMPULSION TO DO THIS TO SOMEONE’S LEG.”
Jesus
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 4.01.55 PM
For the second time, Hugh doesn’t even get to ask him a question

Hugh: “so at the end of that round, you didn’t bank anything, although Marek did something which rhymed with it”
ABC is a fool for not bringing him back for TUWYL

Justin, on who he voted for: “didn’t even give me a pen, probably some health and safety nonsense..”

Humphrey, who has been voted, ends the scene with a big ‘WHHHHHHYYYY?’.

A strong, if quieter, Weak Links. Marek’s was the crowdpleaser but Justin, Laura and Humphrey all did solid work.

The discussion topic is on new flavors of crisps. Marek throws in a bizarre one about wanting ‘Bryan Adams flavored crisps’, which does shake up the panel a bit

Interpretive Dance: Pippa and Humphrey must guess; David performs a mime act to You’re So Vain by Carly Simon

David’s mime for mirror is doing a line of cocaine off of one. Inspired choice.
I also like his shrug on doing a slight galavant mime for ‘gavotte’, as he’s not quite sure how to properly do that one

I kind of figured his mime for the title would include a vein-tapping motion, but it still pays off. I think at that moment, Humphrey gets it.

on ‘you said that we made such a pretty pair’, David does a mime of a pair of boobs. Because of course.

Mostly this routine is reminding me how well-written You’re So Vain is. Man, Warren Beatty was a cock, wasn’t he? Also, hearing it now, it’s very obvious that Mick Jagger did backing vocals for this song.

Pretty solid mime act from David. Not at the very top for me so far, but a good one.

I thought Humphrey had it but it was completely wrong. Eventually he has to give it to them.

Early TV: Jerry Springer: My Ghastly Husband is Frightfully Out of Control; Hugh hosts, Laura is the wife, Justin is the husband in question, Marek is their son, Humphrey is their chauffer.

What’s great about this game is that the ‘game’ of the scene is overexaggerations on things that aren’t a very big deal. Laura coming on because her husband “held his knife like a pencil”, and while singing the national anthem, “I could tell he didn’t really mean it.”
Hugh: “that really is absolutely ghastly.”
Laura: “I was sick, Gerald, a little bit in my mouth but mainly all over the turkey.”

I also like, on that last beat, that Laura feigns a bit of acid reflux as Justin enters.

Justin: “later on, as we were having a roast swan at Michaelmas…I left one of my elbows slightly on the table”
Hugh: “ACTUALLY FULLY ON THE TABLE?”
Justin: “yes, I’m quite surprised I haven’t ended up in prison yet.”
Again, exaggeration is the name of the game, especially juxtaposing the wild, exploitative Springer show with a very restrained time for UK culture

Laura: “and it’s catching, Hugh, because recently his mother has developed a northern accent.”
[is he Hugh or Gerald?]

Marek’s dopey but still posh voice is funny enough. He almost goes french, when he says “how am I supposed to be disciplined WHEN HE DOES TEEENGS LIKE DAT?”
pffff

Laura: “some people have started a rumor that he’s a homosexual.”
Hugh, with a move that seems like it was handed down from the gods: “…which one?”
An exchange of looks
Hugh: “both? Not together…”
Laura: “that’s a different show.”

Humphrey enters with a very good cockney-ish accent.
Hugh: “why aren’t you sitting down?”
[there aren’t enough chairs]
Humphrey: “…I’m not allowed to sit down, sir.”
Hugh: “that’s quite right, you’re not.”
I do love this game

Pippa calls from the audience, as Justin’s Northern accented mother, which is a great choice. It’s a great characterization, too.
Hugh: “is she your mother?”
Justin, ashamed: “we can’t understand a single word she says…”
Laura: “I’m going to be sick again!”

An exceptional game of this, with so much coming from all ends, and the central hook of the game being hit fantastically. Laura and Justin did the best work here, and it was really fun throughout, building on itself perfectly.

For the autobiography titles conversation, Marek does another wonderfully bizarre one
Hugh: “…you have to stop talking now.”

7-Up: Justin is someone with a hormonal imbalance, Laura is Goldilocks, Marek and Greg are Bavarian twins

What’s this? Greg actually gets to play an improv game tonight? He’s been absent from pretty much the whole show!

Hugh makes it clear that this is based off of the documentary series, ‘rather than the fizzy citrus drink, although I’d be very happy to do THEIR voiceover, should I be asked..”

Laura gives her Goldilocks character a Devonshire accent, and is in disbelief about what the bears’ house has left. “House is TIT-FULLA BEDS, AND PORRIDGE.”

Greg and Marek, of course, are great at working off of each other [they were literally in a sketch team together], so they’re pretty mind melded on where this needs to go.
Marek: “und ve BATH together”
Greg: “yes”
Marek: “und ve SLEEP TOGETHER”
Greg: ‘yes”
Marek: “und ve…also…” [AND HE’S GONE]
Greg: …YES?”
He does not get to finish that thought

I love the reveal that 14-year-old Justin has the same voice as 7-year-old Justin.

Laura, at 14: “one day the bears got wide to it…only went and got myself a bloody ASBO..”

Greg: ‘the thing is, because I have grown so quickly…for some reason I have lost the ability to do accents….and because of that I have had a terrible crisis of confidence. And i don’t know which accent this actually IS.”
This is amusing both of them. Marek seems to think it’s a bit scottish

Justin hits the reveal at 21, doing an INCREDIBLY deep voice. Sounding a heck of a lot like Hugh’s deep scratchy voice

Laura reveals she’s gotten pregnant, “by two of the bears.” Kind of an odd ending to hers, but it works

Meanwhile, as we’ve been on the other two:
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 4.39.00 PM
Yes, they switched shirts. How was that to happen so covertly? They both look ridiculous, too, and know it

Marek, struggling to compose himself: “the thing what happened is we swapped bodies and my voice got even more Scottish..”

AND THEN…MAREK PIMPS OUT GREG:
“And now the good thing to happen is his accent’s now completely German, isn’t it?”
YEP. Greg’s idea to switch places. So pay the piper.
Greg: “…JA.”
He does a slightly better german accent, almost at gunpoint. After he’s done he makes his little Rik Mayall face, knowing he screwed it up. Now I know why he was one of the few people in that Mock the Week episode not to do a German accent.

A pretty funny round of that. Like the last time with this grouping, Greg and Marek’s were the funniest, but I liked the subtle moves Laura and Greg were doing in contrast.

Oh, and after that game:
Screen Shot 2022-05-03 at 4.45.01 PM
Just says it all.
Hugh: “this is possibly one of the most disturbing images you’ll ever see on british television”
….no, it’s still the ketchup pouring into the wine glass back in UK Whose Line.

Sideways Scene: Amorous housewife Pippa is having her shower repaired by hunky plumber Justin, and jealous husband Marek returns

To start, Justin has to crawl over Pippa to get to the shower
Pippa: “sorry, it’s not a very wide hallway”

When Pippa hears Marek attempting to open the door, she goes ‘careful, he’s got a funny leg’, giving him a gift to work with
Marek, finally entering: “I’ve got a bad leg though, so I have to hop”

Pippa ends regulation by saying “I ought to punch you in the face.” The first genre they get is kung-fu.
Pippa: “that’s lucky!”
I’m getting a Josie Lawrence vibe from Pippa this episode

Marek, cracking up as he says it: “your forceful punch…SPINS ME THROUGH THE AIR!”
Also, around here it’s clear that Pippa’s mic pack is all the way out

This style gets very silly, but I did like Marek randomly deciding to do handstands
Pippa, wisely bringing back the scene: “Marek, stoppit, it’s not good for your leg!”

After the Potter style, a guy has to come in and fix Pippa’s battery pack
Justin: “who the bloody hell is this!”
The poor guy crawls away
Hugh: “it’s ten pounds if you can see right down his crack!”
once again, I’m so glad that Hugh is the host of this show

The scene ends with mat-riverdancing, which is a pretty fun way to go out.

Thank the gods, a better playing of this than last show. Lots more great improv energy, courtesy mostly of Pippa, and funny moves. This still is a mostly broad game, but it worked enough here.

Overall: Better show, and a pretty funny one for the highlight reel. Having a strong, amicable panel proved to be the difference-maker, as so much worked tonight because of the cohesion between these performers. Rounds of Early TV, 7-Up and Weak Links improved on recent improv rounds, and built on relationships, like the Greg-Marek dynamic and Laura’s excellent connecting work. Laura had one of her strongest shows to date, and Pippa also had some excellent moves all night. Everyone else played their usual roles- Justin the regular alpha male, Humphrey the support man and Marek the wild card. Greg was only in one true improv game, which was odd considering his burgeoning star at this point.  Really, my one gripe with this show is performer placement- Greg was only in one improv game, Pippa was only really in two, Humphrey kinda only did two as well. I wish there was a bit more balance, and that more performers weren’t missing for large swaths of the show. But aside from that, this was a strong show that ranks with the best of this short run.

Best Performer: Marek Larwood. This was close between him and Pippa, but Marek was in more games and was a big piece of all of them.
Worst Performer: Greg was only in one game and struggled with an accent throughout.
Best Game: Early TV was pretty fantastic all the way through, and boosted by Laura’s improv moves and Justin’s underplaying.
Worst Game: In a show where every game was pretty good, Sideways Scene was the most hollow comparatively.

UP NEXT: The finale, and a final assessment on whether or not this show deserved better.

Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose- Episode 6, or Here Comes the Good Stuff

What I do appreciate about Fast and Loose is that while it does stick to a repertory company, it also knows when to deviate and bring in different people and flex different dynamics. For instance, this episode leaves out Laura Solon, Marek Larwood and Greg Davies, keeps Justin, Pippa and Humphrey, and brings in Ruth Bratt, who works really well with Pippa, David Reed, comedy team member of Humphrey, and newcomer Tom Parry, who makes his only appearance in this show.

Hugh introing Humphrey with ‘he’s got a great first touch for a big man’ reminds me of the Sven-Goran Eriksson line they were having fun with on Mock the Week.

World’s Worst: Audition Tapes

Tom, in a flat Londoner accent: “they say an interesting performer can make even reading the phonebook interesting…oh well…here goes-“
BUZZ

Ruth does a long, depressed schoolmarm audition, ending with “will it ever be a good morning, no, and you know why? Because men are essentially disappointing.”
Hugh double-takes at this. Pippa cracks a little

Justin, pulling a Drew Carey: “I’ve got an idea for a new show, it’s a bit like Loose Women, a bit like Cash in the Attic, a bit like the Hairy Bikers, it’s called Hairy Women in My Attic”

Humphrey: “I shall be auditioning for the part of the elephant” [undoes pockets, goes to unzip]
“OH, TONY!”
Humphrey stops and goes off, but Hugh sets himself apart from Clive by saying “I DIDN’T PRESS THE BUZZER.” I love that

Tom, with a hand up: “who lost the dummy…I LOST THE DUMMY…who doesn’t know when to stop gambling?…I DON’T.”
Tom is pretty fun so far

Justin, essentially auditioning for Mock the Week: “had an accident at work? So have I. And that’s why I wear adult nappies.”

Pretty awesome opening round, honestly. Only one from Pippa, but everyone else got a few good ones in.

For the ‘tell me something I don’t know’ conversation round, you can see a lot of these guys don’t have much
Pippa: “I ONCE DROWNED A MAN…but I…no…”
David: “…the drink will never stop the pain, Hugh.”
Hugh: “…strangely enough I DO know that…”
again, this is why Hugh is such a great host

Humphrey, similarly: “YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT MAKES ME FEEL WHEN YOUR WIFE IS AROUND.”
Screen Shot 2022-04-26 at 11.37.04 AM

Come Dining: Justin and Pippa are a period drama, David is from Gladiator, Humphrey is from a Harry Potter film, and Tom is from Bollywood.

This game shows up early this show.

Pippa introduces a leg of mutton for her and Justin
Justin: “well, I say mutton, I actually cut it off one of the serving staff earlier”

David begins doing Russell Crowe’s speech.
Pippa: “there are no women in this film” [hides under the tablecloth]
…there’s a couple women in Gladiator..

Justin: “let me eat my leg of maid, and then we will wrestle naked, as….as that’s the way I like it.”

Humphrey arrives with a rather amusing Hagrid impression. And then he gets to the edge of his improvisation: “my…OUTHOUSE has been overrun with…crumplesnacks, or…some similarly peculiarly named animal…”

Tom’s Bollywood interlude is clumsy but at least the others know how to set-dress.
Tom: “before this gets any more offensive, I shall leave!”

We get back into the Harry Potter scene, and Pippa, as Hermione, starts defending David, as Harry
Humphrey: “I NEVER LIKED YOU, YOU STUCK UP BITCH.”
Justin, as Humphrey leaves: “does that mean I’m the, uh, ginger one?”
[I like how once they realize Humphrey’s gone, they shift right back into Gladiator and Pippa goes right back to hiding under the tablecloth]

David: “WE MUST BATTLE OUTSIDE.”
Justin: “NAKED.”
David: [a motion that gives the effect of ‘oy, AGAIN with that?’]
Justin: “I’m really quite strict about the naked bit.”

Justin, wrapping up the period drama scene: “my face is a mask of emotions”
Pippa: “emULsions?”
Justin, taking that gift: “…I’ve never come.”

Not the best of these, a little clumsy and weak in some respects, but I did like Justin and Pippa’s steady improv moves throughout this.

Hugh has the contestants say unsexy things in a sexy voice
Ruth: “you’ve dripped bin juice ALL DOWN THE STAIRS..”

Interpretive Dance: Pippa and Ruth have to decipher David, doing a pantomime routine set to Don’t Stop Me Now, by Queen

Yeah, there we go with song choice.

I like David’s mime for ‘turn it inside out’, with him shoving something out of his mouth

And just the very simple mime of the title is funny enough.

A lot of these are pretty simple, but I did like, at the line ‘that’s why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit’, that David just looks at the audience and shrugs. He couldn’t figure one out for that one

And, “I’m having a ball” ends up leading to a cheeky point at his privates. I did like that one.

Honestly, David’s simplest one yet. A bit more similar to his TUWYL ones. Not that it wasn’t funny, it just impressed me the least of these.

And Pippa and Ruth get it spot-on, because of the repetition of that title mime.

“Things our grannies used to say”
-Ruth: “we didn’t call it sex in those days, but I imagine that was what it was…”
-Justin: “TURN ON THE OXYGEN, YA LITTLE SOD!”

Forward/Rewind: Humphrey is a doctor examining David when Tom enters with his amorous wife, Pippa, who is choking

[yes, this game without the Americans. Let’s see what happens]

Because Humphrey and David have a stage working relationship, they can screw with each other handily, as evidenced by Humphrey getting David into a pattern of ‘TOUCH YOUR NOSE/TOUCH YOUR TOES’ til the first rewind
And yes, Humphrey trying to figure out what one’s next does crack him up a bit

And then, and once again I have to stress that these two have worked together,:
Screen Shot 2022-04-27 at 11.26.55 AM
“COUGH!”

I love the detail of Tom running in carrying Pippa. This may make things difficult for the rampant forward/rewinding, but at least he’s thinking theatrics

I think Hugh goes too long without calling a rewind, but I do like that everyone in this game is using digestible moments so they know what’s next on a rewind. When it does happen, it’s able to be pretty seamless, even with Pippa jumping back into Tom’s arms.

Hugh definitely knows where the funny is, as he calls ‘forward’ right after we get done with the crotch-grabbing bit.

I love the detail of, as David gives Pippa the heimlich, Humphrey makes Tom do 10 press-ups for some reason. Tom essentially pleads for Hugh to rewind, and he does
Humphrey: “DO TEN FUCKING PRESSUPS.”
That got me

Tom, on a rewind, as Pippa gets back into his arms: “doctor, she’s choking…and my back is done in!”

I love how Hugh forwards to a resolution, Tom kisses Pippa, and then is about to do the ten press-ups when we rewind again.
Then Hugh figures out, like in a previous playing, that the comedic hook is making Tom and Pippa kiss repeatedly. This gets funnier the fifth or sixth time. You just see Humphrey looking on, arms crossed, impressed. David checks his watch.

As we rewind back to the top, it goes pretty seamlessly, though I do love, right before the crotch grab, Humphrey going ‘HERE COMES THE GOOD STUFF!’. I think he’s having the most fun in this game, as well as knowing what to do with the humor in it.

Humphrey, very exhausted, gets to his opening line, then breathes and goes ‘THE END.’ It’s a very silly ending to the scene.

I liked this one a lot. Hugh definitely knows how to get to the funny in this, but I liked Humphrey as a constant source of funny throughout, and Tom getting bested by his own improv choices.

Party Time: Bad Chat-Up Lines

David, in a Yorkshire accent: “put your coat on, love, because your dress is shit.”
Ruth, perfectly: “I’ve decided to settle, you will do.”
Justin: “did you fall from heaven? Because it looks like you’ve landed in some shit.”

Right Way/Wrong Way: Behaving on a First Date. Pippa and Humphrey are the right way, Tom and Ruth are the wrong way.

I do like how stereotypically cheery Pippa and Humphrey’s first right way one is, even ending in a cheesy freeze frame shot.

Tom: “you’re Ruth, right? Cause I can see it on your face, but you’re overweight.”
Hugh, as Tom settles in after that “RIGHT, SO THE NEXT STAGE-“
Pippa and Humphrey love that move. Hugh knows Tom’s not gonna top that

Something about how Tom does his wrong ways pales in comparison to the other ones in this round that Justin has done. They’re a bit more shallow, and Tom’s very much taking all of the blame himself rather than letting Ruth do some bad things as well.

Humphrey, sealing the deal: “well, I’ve had a great time tonight, and I can tell from your pheromones that you did too. So what d’you say we take this back to one of my houses?”
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but with the harder-to-make-funny straight scene, Humphrey and Pippa have been having more success

Tom, standing for a few moments: “…it’s not gonna suck itself.”
….well then

Not a perfect playing of this, simply because Tom and Ruth were weak choices for the wrong way, even with that shock ending. Humphrey and Pippa had the better scene, surprisingly.

Bad names for pubs
David: “The Baby’s Arms”
Tom, again going for the jugular: “The Horse and Prince Charles?”

Sideways Scene: Justin is a buff, flirty personal trainer taking Pippa through her paces when her fitness freak husband Tom arrives home unexpectedly

Justin pimps Pippa out to do some running back and forth relays, just to test out the mat capabilities. 

This works because Justin and Pippa, as we’ve seen on this show, have great chemistry, and can work off each other very well.

I’ve realized that what I don’t like about Tom is that he has very broad, matter-of-fact improv moves, compared to the more sophisticated and thought out stuff that the rest of the british company brings here. A lot of what he does is easy stuff when he comes in, providing immediate laughs without really contending with Justin and Pippa’s more laid back scene. I don’t think he can tell where the funny is coming from.

Yeah, the styles didn’t make this much better, with lots more broad and clumsy stuff, though I have to admit I laughed at the Dirty Dancing ending.

Not great. Again, Tom’s presence weighed things down a bit, and they completely lost the scene. 

Now It’s a Musical: I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here in the style of Les Mis, Justin and Humphrey are Ant&Dec, Ruth, Pippa and David are celebrities in the midst of a Bushtacker trial.

I have to say, I was a little relieved when I saw Tom sit this one out and the underused David and Ruth go in. 

This is a game that was apparently played a few times but only aired this once, a sort of throwback to American Musical. But, owing to the theme of making parodies of television shows, it’s based off of a pre-existing show, this time I’m a Celebrity, which was still very big in the UK despite failing in two U.S. attempts. 

I find it funny that, a bit like Dragon’s Lair, Hugh prescribes who’s gonna be the hosts, but gives the other 3 free rein on which celebs to imitate 

The first number, done by Humphrey and Justin as Ant and Dec, is a little clumsy, and I think there’s a few missed hints from each other. Pippa and Ruth’s number as the dissenting castmates sick of eating bugs is a bit better, as the two of them actually have musical improv experience, and they also know the I Dreamed a Dream motif to hit. I also like David’s set-dressing of, in the same ‘I dreamed a dream’ cadence, ‘SHE HAS SPIDERS IN HER BRA.”

Justin, as both an improv note as well as a very good joke: “Stop…I don’t know who any of you are.”

Ruth: “I used to be married to a Premiership footballer
he was like you, but…at least twelve inches taller.”
YES. Ruth has been obliterated in both edits of her episodes and I’m glad she’s A.) having a better show here and B.) coming off well in this game

David: “I used to stand next to a well-known TV chef..”
…and he allows the audience to get the joke. I, however, do not.

Justin and Humphrey come back in with a refrain of ‘EAT THE KANGAROO’S PENIS’. Justin initially goes with ‘balls’, but he realizes that ‘penis’ is funnier and Humphrey was going with that from the beginning.

Great ending note, though. 

Not perfect. I liked where we went in terms of humor, and in terms of clever lyricism, but a lot of this was a bit clumsy. It flowed better than, admittedly, a lot of UK Musical playings, but it still felt like it held itself back by sticking to a structure. Justin and Humphrey doing most of their stuff in unison but not being on the same page reminded me a bit of John Glover and Jimmy Mulville doing something similar in the pilot episode of UK Whose Line. This was, admittedly, BETTER than that pilot episode, and with more natural singers, but I still had some issues. I still would have loved to see other playings, though.

Overall: An okay show. Forward Rewind, Musical and the opening quickfire were pretty good, and it was great to see Ruth and David in larger roles, but a lot of games tonight paled in comparison to earlier playings, or were saddled with subpar moves, a lot of the time courtesy of Tom. I honestly think if we had another show of Justin, Pippa, Ruth, David, Humphrey and maybe somebody like Marek or Greg, it’d be up there with the best of the series, as those 5 were responsible for a lot of great moments tonight. But as it was, and a lot of this wasn’t solely Tom’s fault, but there were a lot of games that just sort of came and went without wowing me. Come Dining and Sideways Scene especially. There’s still a lot to like about the show’s format and the regulars, but this one kind of let me down. 

Best Performer: Humphrey Ker had the biggest laughs tonight
Worst Performer: Tom made the most mistakes
Best Game: Forward Rewind had the best energy thanks to Humphrey and David’s preexisting relationship and their improv moves getting the best of them
Worst Game: Sideways Scene was a complete miss for me.

Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose: Episode 5, or Stick to the Scripted Stuff

As we head into the second half of Fast and Loose, now fully reliant on UK performers, we return to the lineup, and from the looks of things the same taping, that gave us Episode 1. Justin, Pippa, Greg, Humphrey, Laura, Marek. I thought that lineup worked well the first time, let’s see how they do here.

World’s Worst: Things to say at a Speed Dating event

Humphrey, with a Welsh accent: “I’m looking for someone who really loves dogs…and i mean REALLY…”
So already Rob Brydon’s turned this off

Greg: “I didn’t really want to come tonight but Tony said it was a good idea, [looking at his crotch] DIDN’T YOU, TONY?”
Pippa: “describe myself in three words? Okay- violent, insecure and BARREN.”
Marek: “Ideally I’m looking for, uh, a mermaid, or at least someone who can cope with a consistent bedwetter”
These are all pretty good!

Justin: “with me, what you see is what you get. You can read me like a book, and that book is Mein Kampf-” [SUBCONSCIOUSLY SEIG-HEILS] “NOOO.”
The energy of that one felt like a combination between Sandi Toksvig and Robin Williams. So quick.

Laura, explaining the impossibility of childbirth: “I did a few experiments at my home earlier today, and basically anything bigger than a My Little Pony gets jammed.”
JESUS

Marek does a great one where he mockingly makes fun of Hugh’s buzzer.

Pretty good quickfire round to start us off.

Justin, answering the first Hugh mid-round question: “my favorite word is, uh, acquittal.”
Hugh: “and I hope it worked out for you”

Greg: “well, Hugh, I come from a very wealthy family, so my favorite word is ‘bereavement’.”
I do like how much fun these guys can have with these even at rest

7 Up: Justin and Humphrey are Peter Pan and Wendy, Laura’s an Eastenders character, and Marek and Greg are a boy and his imaginary friend.

Definite reactions from Justin and Greg on hearing their quirks.

I like Justin and Humphrey’s first scene, especially Justin’s hesitance to really enjoy what Humphrey has thrust him into. I also love Humphrey adding “I’m taking you to Neverland, but not that one.”

Laura’s didn’t do much for me, even with someone with a mild familiarity with Eastenders.

Greg and Marek’s, though, immediately cracked me up. You already can tell that Greg’s being the kid, and Marek, hanging onto him, adds, in a deeper voice, “TELL HIM YOU’LL BE ASKING THE QUESTIONS.”
Greg: “…I CAN’T TELL HIM THAT, HE’S THE HOST OF THE SHOW.”
Marek, somehow holding on without cracking: “YOU’LL DO WHAT I SAY.”
Of course, after this, both of them do crack
Greg: “I’M ONLY SEVEN.”
Marek, cracking: “oh, true…”

In the 14 round, I think my favorite of these is Justin and Humphrey, because they’re playing it like a real improv scene. Justin is now playing it with even more of a contrast from Humphrey [who, as Peter Pan, hasn’t aged], and now just wants to go home.
Justin: “where are my parents?”
Humphrey: “…They’re…probably dead by now…”
Justin: “and who’s this Tinkerbell fella that hangs around? What’s his deal?”
Humphrey, perfectly: “HE is a lady…which is MORE THAN I CAN SAY FOR YOOOU.”
It just works so well, and you can actually see the scene and dynamic outside of the game construct

Greg and Marek’s at 14 is also still funny, as Greg is more composed but Marek is still in control. I love him going “tell him you’re sick of seeing his face on panel shows.”
Greg: “…I CAN’T TELL HIM THAT”
Marek: “TELL HIM HE’S DONE TOO MUCH”
I can hear Hugh chuckling at this, which gave me a Clive Anderson flashback

I also love Greg just refusing to insult Hugh’s career, and Marek going “NO, STICK TO THE SCRIPTED STUFF”, which is a funny line for an improv show

Also, right when Hugh changes to 21, you can just see Greg bow his head and crack up. I don’t blame him in the slightest

At 21, Humphrey is now burdened by his agelessness. “This is had serious impact on my taxes!”
What a great line!
Justin, with another great line: “Unwisely, we’ve got married. I’m regretting that now..”

I now like the angle Laura’s going with, now at 21 being an Eastenders CASTMEMBER. “I did the single, it was crap, then I did the reality show, that was awful. Now I just open…Spas for 50 quid.” You can see a clever hook here, even if it’s not as good as the other two

Hugh, perfectly: “and Greg, has the last 7 years given you time to think LONG AND HARD ABOUT THE THINGS YOU SAID WHEN YOU WERE 14?”
This is why he’s so great as a host

Greg plays this as a tough guy who finally got leverage over Marek, who’s now frightenedly yelling for help.
Greg: “and I’d just like to say what an admirer I am of your career…particularly the scripted stuff.”
So damn funny

Such a funny round of this, better than last show’s. Laura’s wasn’t much compared to the other two, but she did have some decent moves. Justin and Humphrey’s was a great improv dynamic scene, and Greg and Marek’s was incredibly funny, especially how the dynamic shifted over time.

Hugh asks the performers for bad names for restaurants
Justin, with nothing: “uh…Fat Dick at Bray.”
and he just…takes a few moments to live with that choice
Humphrey, not much prouder: “Sloppy Seconds”

Interpretive Dance: Pippa and Laura try to guess; David does a mime routine to…HUMAN BY THE KILLERS?

HOLY CRAP AN ACTUAL CONTEMPORARY ROCK SONG? None of that 80s/90s stuff? WELL ALRIGHT THEN

We maybe get 5 seconds into this one before the first of David’s uses for his mime of ‘come’ [“when the call came down the line”]
Just makes me wonder if that was one of the reasons I didn’t like him in TUWYL. ABC had a strict ‘no cum jokes’ mandate.

I also liked the built-up mime of ‘cut the cord’ being a full umbilical cord.

The central phrase of this song [‘are we human or are we dancer?’] is very well done too, I like his way of doing ‘human’ is doing a full evolutionary stand.

As good as this routine is, I think it just reminds me of how much I enjoy this song. They never play it much on the radio by me.

Alright, big laugh at ‘is your heart still beating’ being David removing a heart and punching it repeatedly. A cousin of ‘do you hear my heart beating’ from last show

The best parts of this build over time. By the third ‘and I’m on my knees’, you can tell David’s getting sit of kneeling down only to immediately get back up, so he plays it up

Hugh, giving them a clue for the band, does a stabbing motion that reminds me of a MTW Scenes We’d Like to See one [‘profile of a killer’]
Pippa, refusing to understand: “Punch and Judy?”

Yeah, very good round of that.

Hugh asks the performers what they wish for when they blow out their birthday candles
Greg starts with a rational one, end all fighting, “and if there’s time, I wish for a penis like a farmboy’s arm holding a pumpkin.”
and he just…holds this glare:
Screen Shot 2022-04-18 at 5.40.52 PM
Greg is fantastic on this show
Hugh, of course, has the perfect rebuttal: “would that not rot after a while?”

Come Dining: Justin and Pippa are in Silence of the Lambs, Humphrey is from an Australian soap, Greg is from a Pantomime, and Marek is Robin Hood.

Lots of games tonight with all 6, or at least 5 out of 6, performers. This is very good.

Justin starts us off with a pretty nice Anthony Hopkins impression.
Pippa: “this leg of lamb seems to still be bleeding”
Justin: “…that was no lamb.”

Humphrey: “Guys. I came as seoon as I heard Bouncer was dead…WHAT ARE YOU EATING?”
PERFECT

I also love all three performers in this Australian Soap round. Three different ways of playing it. Justin as the laid back, grizzled Aussie actor, Pippa with the intense reads [“DEON’T MAKE ME EENGRY”], and Humphrey as the young hot Jason Donovan type

Justin: “Calm down, Mr. Irigawa’s coming to sign the contracts…[cracking] that’s a very EARLY Neighbours reference..”
Humphrey, also taking this opportunity to rip the scene open: “did he get the contract off of HELEN DANIELS, or whoever was around then?”
Pippa: “I think it was MRS. MINGLE.”
Humphrey: “…I HAVEN’T WATCHED THIS SHOW FOR LIKE 15 YEARS!”
That’s hysterical. I get a vibe of a Tony/Paul Film and Theater Styles where they’re barely keeping the scene together and pointing out each other’s moves

Greg, entering: “HELLO BOYS AND GIRLS, IT’S ME. AN AGING QUEEN DRESSED AS A WOMAN.”
I thought Barry Humphries was more the Australian Soap sty-OH, right, go on

There’s an obvious cut after only a few lines from Greg, without him really interacting with the other 3, to bring us Marek.

Marek’s scene is…something. You can tell Marek doesn’t have a concrete idea for this bit, like he did with the Terminator last time, so the others are sort of guiding him through it. Greg asks him to hold him, bringing us back to 7 Up. Then Justin casts Greg as Maid Marian. By the time Marek’s latching back onto Greg, they’re both struggling to keep it together. Then Marek pulls too strongly and
Screen Shot 2022-04-18 at 5.59.45 PM
Jesus. This is messy but it’s working.
I also like how, collapsed on top of Marek, Greg reads that as ‘Marek is done’ and goes right back into his panto character. “OH, BOYS AND GIRLS, I WENT AND SLIPPED ON ROBIN HOOD….i might STAY HERE FOR A WHILE, THOUGH.”
Humphrey’s losing it. Again, I do not blame him
Hugh, blasting through the scene: “this is so gonna end up on the dvd extras…”
lol, like someone would make a proper DVD of a Dan Patterson project..

Justin, trying to keep the scene going: “IT’S BEHIND YOU…your career.”
Greg: “HE WAS A CHEEKY ONE, WASN’T HE BOYS AND GIRLS? OH NOW LOOK, MY PANTS HAVE FALLEN DOWN.”
Pippa, knowing the style: “OH NO THEY HAVEN’T?”
Greg: “…no, they GENUINELY have…”
The scene is somehow still working, despite this messy, caustic overtone

Justin, ending the scene: “well, Clarice, I’ve got a marvelous blood sausage.”
The audience does the work for him.

Wow. Absolutely wild. And also a good version of the game, but man was this improv messy. The scene barely held together, and you could just see the performers having fun, holding it in, and screwing with each other. I think it’s still a fantastic scene, despite not being completely clean.

Party Time: Most pretentious lines

Marek: “I like to make sure all my equipment is HD ready, and when I say HD ready, I mean ready for Hugh Dennis.” [flexes collar]

Justin: “then, of course, we made our own pesto from the afterbirth.”
PRETTY MUCH ALL 5 HAVE A REACTION TO THIS

Dragon’s Lair: Humphrey and Pippa are Bannatyne and Meaden; Laura and Greg have a collapsible multi-covered tent cover

I like how, from moment one, Humphrey, with his very good Duncan Bannatyne impression, is controlling when each of Greg and Laura get to speak.
Pippa, eventually: “can I get a word in please…I’m a STRONG WOMAN IN BUSINESS.”
Laura: “then why d’you wear such bad clothes?”
Pippa: “is that your real face?”
A moment of defeated silence
Greg, with no options: “…HELLO, DRAGONS.”

Greg has a lot of fun comedy details, making it clear that he has copious affairs and that his wife, Laura, is very aware. “For instance, I might be taking my wife out for fifth supper in Birmingham”
Humphrey is biting his lip already
Laura: “we don’t live in Birmingham”

Eventually, after a lot of buildup on just the story of Greg and Laura, Humphrey has a great move: “can I just ask…what the fuck is your product?”
That made me laugh

Greg: “as we walk into Birmingham Town Centre, I spot a woman that I’d had vigorous sex with not 24 hours before.”
So many good lines in this.

I also love the timing of Greg deploying the chute, which he calls ‘the wife disguise’
Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 3.03.21 PM
I also love Greg feebly popping the chute over Laura only for it to fall through and not properly conceal her
Laura, perfectly: “When we first got married, I was considerably shorter.”

I also love Greg confidently replying ‘four’ when Humphrey asks how many he’ll need to produce per year. This is such a well-formed idea.

I love the turn Pippa takes this. “Although you didn’t hide her face from ME, did you Greg? You just came out here flaunting it.”
Greg: [reacts in shock]
Pippa: “FORTY EIGHT HOURS. FORTY EIGHT.”
Such a great move
Greg: “I’m sorry, I had no idea you lived in Birmingham”

Humphrey: “I’m gonna have ta say oot.”
Laura: “WHY?”
Humphrey, as blunt as he’s been all game: “…because it’s shit.”

Hugh asks Greg if he accepts their unfavorable verdict
Greg:
Screen Shot 2022-04-19 at 3.19.21 PM
Greg: “COULDN’T CARE LESS.”

A much better round of this, with a fully-formed scene, so many great dynamics [Pippa-Humphrey, Pippa-Greg, Laura-Greg, Greg-Humphrey], a really fun idea from Greg, and so many great lines and turns. I was really impressed.

Sideways Scene: Justin and Pippa are at home on a windy night having a romantic meal when the fuses go out- Marek arrives to fix things

The first part of this is goofy, as they’re sort of dancing around while getting into position. Justin’s trying to get into a chair, Pippa’s trying to get across the room, both are wiggling and dancing all the while.

Justin, after Pippa realizes she’s got to get the mustard: “yes, CLIMB OVER THE CHAIR, that’d be the easiest way…”

Marek now has to clumsily come in, despite the fuse plot point not appearing yet. So to cover this, Marek leans into his clumsiness and goes ‘ooh, it’s windy…’
Marek’s struggle to get in the door is very silly, and sort of halts the scene, but in a lawful way. He’s trying desperately hard to get in but he can’t move atop the door, and he can’t get past the knob. Meanwhile, Justin’s acting like this is a normal scene, going ‘well just come on in..’. Greg, Humphrey and even Justin are amused by this

Then, Marek’s struggle to close the door draws even more attention to him, as Justin and Pippa are trying to keep the scene going. I think at this point, they can figure out that Marek’s more physical, spectacle-emphasizing stuff is the hook, but they want to make this a conscious scene as well.

Once Marek finally closes the door, there’s a sigh of relief…and then he opens it again, with the wind still going. It’s completely silly, and I kinda love it.

Once Hugh changes to E.T. style, Pippa starts humming…the Jurassic Park theme.
[FAMILY FEUD X]
I do like the silliness of Marek trying to ride a bike on the floor.

The Superman style is great, because Justin and Pippa play this as Superman and Lois taking flight. Meanwhile, Marek starts tumbling back towards the ground, shouting ‘BUT WHAT ABOUT ME SUPERMAN??”
I laughed very hard at that

For Jaws, Justin and Pippa plan to swim upwards
Marek: “…oh…oh I see who I am now..”
Poor Marek. Again, he’s great at using his loserdom as his greatest asset onstage, and I love how he plays into that

Probably the best Sideways Scene we’ve gotten. So much silly stuff, great dynamic work, and really good physical likeness, regardless of losing the scene. Marek had so much to do, and so much physical stuff to get laughs with.

Overall: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but better than Episode 1. No bad games, not as much pure messiness as E3, so many excellent moves and a really even panel displacement. I think all six got moments to shine here, and there were so many really funny moments from everybody. 7 Up, Dragon’s Lair and Sideways Scene, for me, are right there at the top of this series’ output, while Come Dining shows you how much extreme comedic energy this show had at any point. Justin, Pippa, Greg and Marek all had the biggest nights, but Laura and Humphrey all had moves that impressed me. Just…the surest possible portrait of what this show could be.

Best Performer: Marek Larwood. The wild card wins out tonight, with some great stuff all night and insanely fun moves in 7 Up and Sideways Scene.
Worst Performer: Despite strong work in Dragon’s Lair, Laura had the least to do tonight
Best Game: Dragon’s Lair was a complete scene with great ideas and lines, and a great ending twist. Expertly done by all four.
Worst Game: I guess Party Time by default. Nothing truly bad here.

Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose- Episode 4, or This Does Nothing for me

Now, onto the second of two episodes of Fast & Loose featuring Wayne Brady and Jonathan Mangum. Back in E2 I thought that their presence took away from the closer-knit UK-based rep company. This episode will be…slightly different.

In addition to Wayne and Jonathan, as well as Justin Edwards and Pippa Evans, we have Comedy Store Players personnel Ruth Bratt, as well as David Reed, who was in The Penny Dreadfuls with Humphrey Ker, who…is not in this episode. In fact, this is the only episode Humphrey does not appear in. Curious.

So, we have pieces of dynamics, but word is out on whether these will form a full, cohesive unit, or if Jonathan and Wayne will run away with the show again.

World’s Worst: Showreel Clip to send out to TV execs:

Jonathan: “Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes you end up with nuts in your mouth.”
…and we’re off. That fits in a lot more with the british sensibilities, actually

Ruth: “and if you would like to buy this-i have NOTHING left to say about this microwave, I have been here for TWO DAYS…”

Pippa: “next on Blue Peter, I’ll be showing you how to make this clingfilm into a surefire contraceptive.”

Wayne’s ‘Stephen Hawking in Dancing with the Stars’ one fits right in with the UK audience, even if it’s called Strictly Come Dancing over there.

Jonathan: “welcome back to Dave’s Pizza and Funeral Parlor. Just ’cause your grandma’s stiff doesn’t mean your crust has to be.”
…these are FUNNY, though

Somehow Jonathan was the standout there, though I am getting the feeling that the British performers are gonna get the sticky end of the edit, as Pippa and David only got one in as opposed to Jonathan’s 3.

On rumors about Hugh
David: “I’ve heard that an anagram of your name spells out how you will die. So ‘Hugh Dennis’ is an anagram for…Hung In Shed.”
…BY GOD, IT IS.
Hugh, perfectly: “…that’s actually how my father died.”
David: “sorry.”
Probably the most morbid and least predatory way the police ever found out a bishop was hung.

Justin offers that Hugh Dennis isn’t even his real name, “and that your surname is, in fact ‘Jidiot'”
Hugh:
Screen Shot 2022-04-09 at 10.39.31 PM
Perfect

7-Up: Pippa and Ruth are eastern european twins, Justin is Napoleon Bonaparte, Wayne and Jonathan are Michael Jackson and Bubbles

A new game, and a very british concept. This is based on the Michael Apted documentary series 7 Up, which checked in with a group of primary school students every seven years to see how their lives developed, going up to 63 Up a few years ago. And so the game follows these characters in intervals of 7 years, with Hugh as the interviewer. It’s a very interesting character building exercise, and I’m interested to see how it works out.

I love Pippa and Ruth’s reaction to theirs. Again, these two have worked together before. When Justin hears his, he immediately gets on his knees.

Already, not only do you get how well Ruth and Pippa work off each other, but you get how they can balance so many different concepts at once. They’re twins that know each other well, they’re also eastern european immigrants, and they’re seven. And they nail all of that in a few lines, especially the 7-years-old quality of thinking you know the world and acting like you own the place. I love Ruth’s confident ‘WE WILLL CLEAN FOR YOU.”

Justin plays 7-year-old Napoleon as a normal french kid. “I poo in the showerre and poke eet down weeth my toes.”
THE REACTION:
Screen Shot 2022-04-09 at 10.52.11 PM

Now, here’s the thing. Jonathan starts in this bit playing Michael, leaving Wayne as Bubbles. In one of the WLIIA Zoom Chats back in Spring 2020, Wayne talked at length about typecasting from the producers, and the very british producers not always knowing how properly to cast black performers, and he pointed to scenes where the producers would make him play a monkey, not knowing how derogatory that is for black people. He referred to ‘british producers’ specifically, so while it could refer to things like 4×08’s Director [‘why I gotta be cheetah?’], I thought he was talking about something from the british productions, like TUWYL or Fast and Loose. Sure enough, here we are. Now, it doesn’t always run like this in this scene, but I can only imagine when Jonathan and Wayne did up their gameplan for this game, Jonathan had to make sure Wayne was okay playing Bubbles. Evidently he stomached it here.

Justin, for 14, is standing. “I realized it was very difficult to pursue a military career…on my KNEES.” I think this was also a performer’s choice move, as being on your knees the whole game can smart.

Hugh asks Justin where he’s working now
Justin, matter-of-factly: “oh, little bit of zis, little bit of zat, mostly in charge of ze army.”
Great line

Of course, this round Wayne and Jonathan switch places so they can do the joke about MJ becoming his ‘true self’ in his teens. Also so Wayne can show off some impressive dance moves.

Also, I do love the in-sync-ness of Wayne and Jonathan that Jonathan can jump into Wayne’s arms and Wayne can expect it and sell it.

I got a nice laugh out of the twist that by 21, Ruth and Pippa’s characters grew up to be the Cheeky Girls, and follow this with a sloppily impromptu rendition of ‘Touch My Bum’.

Justin, at 21, is missing an arm, lost “in a deadly war”. “But I have found employment…in a stage production of ‘Allo ‘Allo.”
He smirks as he delivers that. Must not have had much else.

Michael, mournfully catching us up: “well, I left my brothers for a solo career, and, uh, I had Bubbles stuffed.”
Screen Shot 2022-04-09 at 11.03.47 PM
That alone…
Wayne: “and I had him turned into a rocking chair.”
Jonathan, now regretting this, starts to shake his head
Sure enough, Wayne straddles Jonathan and he does this, cracking up throughout

A pretty solid playing of this. I wish we’d have gone a bit further in time, but I liked that all three had full arcs and fun improv moves. I think I may have liked Justin’s the most, but all three were really good.

Hugh tasks the performers to deliver the most interesting fact they know
Ruth: “there are 9 million bisexuals in Beijing.”
David, with a great move, whispers something
Ruth: “BICYCLES.”
PFFFF

Wayne: “Cats do not like being put in microwave ovens.”
Hugh: “how do you know that?”
Wayne: “…don’t ask me questions you don’t wanna know the answer to.”

Justin, perfectly delivered: “if you remove Chris Moyles’ lower intestine…I will buy you a car.”

Interpretive Dance: Pippa and Ruth must guess; David performs a mime routine set to Eternal Flame by the Bangles

Okay, we’ve broken out of the funk of barely cool white guys from the 80s and 90s and have moved onto a relatively cool girl group from the 80s. Progress.

My first laugh was, on ‘do you feel my heart beating’, David started assaulting someone. I also like David’s variation on ‘feel’ [which to him means to grope a tit], on ‘do you feel the same’, which is him groping two different tits and shruggingly admitting they’re the same.

Then, on ‘is this burning’, he painfully clutches his crotch. He’s got a lot of really good ones for this song, I dig it.

For some reason, on ‘don’t come easily’, David is about to do his usual mime for ‘coming’, but stops, and waves it off. Very nice variation on what’s become a running thing to look for in these.
Then, when he finally does the ‘come’ mime, we get a wider, corner angle. Did someone complain to the network about that in episodes 1 through 3. Was this on Points of View? ‘DEAR BBC, WHY OH WHY OH WHY IS THIS BALD MAN MIMING MASTURBATION EVERY TIME THE SINGER SAYS ‘COME’?’

David gives them the ‘flame’ bit, but neither of them get the ‘eternal’ part so he literally has to yell ‘BANGLES’ so they can get it.

I just said this last show, but this might have been my favorite Interpretive Dance yet. I can’t believe I’m actually liking David Armand on this show. Maybe it’s because it’s not in a context that detracts from an outside improv team.

Early TV: Old-Timey Jerry Springer, with Hugh as the host, with the subject being Why On Earth Isn’t My Son Married Yet?. Justin and Pippa play the parents, Dad is the aforementioned son, and Ruth is David’s fiancee. Wayne and Jonathan are audience members.

A simple concept, this: the performers act out scenes from a modern TV show reimagined as a 40s-50s/OLD-TIMEY version of itself. Hugh begins the scene by donning a tie-away tux to play the host. This game, even filmed in black and white, plays to Hugh’s strengths as a sketch performer, as he was very good at playing 40s/50s era proper/old-timey characters.

You can also see Justin’s ease with the setting, shaking Hugh’s hand, and having the very old-timey/posh patter and bluntness. Hugh mentions he’s taken off his large hat, to which Justin replies “I’d go outside and shoot myself or something.”

Then, as Hugh asks them about their son’s age, Pippa tells him “he’s 19 years old-”
Justin, as this is olden times: “DON’T TALK.”
That got a laugh out of me

Justin: “I’m a simple man. I write of pennyfarthing, I have syphilis and I beat my wife.”
Jeremy is so good at lines like that

David: “well, I don’t see why I should rush into such a thing, I’m having such a lovely time as a young adult.”
Justin:
Screen Shot 2022-04-10 at 7.36.58 PM

David: “I go to my watercolor classes.”
Justin: [audible bile]
David: “and I engage in a sport of dancing”
Justin: “OH GOD.”
David: “…down at the docks.”
Justin: [vomiting]

I like the detail of, as Hugh gifts David with a fiancee, answering that they’ve been engaged “since I was aware of it.”

As well as, once Ruth arrives, Pippa adding that “we won her in a game of tombola”
Justin: “we also picked up a pot of pomade, so it was a splendid afternoon altogether.”
So many really fun, subtle character details in this scene. And to be clear, Wayne and Jonathan haven’t entered yet.

Wayne, as an audience member: “I’m merely enjoying my camera-time. Given the decade that this is in, I’m very lucky to be in the studio audience.”
A GREAT MOVE.
I also love Jonathan, after a few seconds of Wayne excitedly waving, sitting him down and going ‘that’s enough.’

The scene abruptly ends, though, without a resolution. We have this thread with David not having any attraction to Ruth, and I thought we were going to keep that going, but we ended with an unrelated Wayne joke. I kinda thought Wayne was gonna enter as David’s boyfriend. Would have been a more productive use of him. Still, I like this scene, and Hugh, Pippa, Justin and David are all very good at selling the sort of blunt old-timey stuff.

Hugh introduces a bonding round where the performers do random impressions, but his voice cracks near the end. “I’m sorry, I had late onset puberty in the middle of that line.”

Wayne uses this opportunity to pull out his Ed Wynn impression, which I haven’t heard since S2 of the Drew WL.

Upside Down: Wayne and Jonathan are Tarzan and Jane

A one-time game made specifically for a Jonathan-Wayne showcase. Again, I still feel like they’re going in on this show’s turf, even if last round did right things a bit. It is a song game that is performed with a camera above Wayne and Jonathan bending over, giving the effect that they’re upside down.

The musician kicks in with some sort of reggae backing. Jonathan of all people takes the offensive, trying to do an audience participation bit that fails the first few times out, and doing some very fun rhymes, like “if she can find my jungle, she can squeeze my vine”, and first and foremost referring to Wayne as “my bitch Jane”

Wayne, of course, is very good at this style, and goes right into it. And he stays in the same register, adding “me might be a man but me name be Jane”, which is an interesting twist

They change positions a few time. Once while Wayne is starting a line, and Jonathan comes down right in front of him, which startles Wayne and got a laugh out of me.

So…you see why this isn’t as good as a lot of the other stuff from this show, right? The humor is less in wordplay, character dynamics and juxtaposition and more in likeness, innuendo and aptness. People don’t applaud this because it was funny, they applaud it because it’s impressive, and this is one of my chief issues with Wayne in this era. Wayne is a very good improviser, but it’s not til the middle of the CW era where he truly relies on his improv abilities rather than just being really good at musical improv and likeness stuff.

Party Time: Unsuccessful Chat-Up Lines

David: “I like my women like I like my Starbucks…weak, with an unwieldy cup size..”

Ruth, perfectly: “I JUST…WANT…BABIES.”

Wayne: “hey girl, you must be an angel. Did you fall out of heaven? …is my dad up there?”
Jonathan, who knows Wayne, gives him a hug after this.

Pippa, similarly grossly: “is that a ladder in your tights or a varicose vein?”
STOP BRINGING UP LADDERS IN THIS ROUND

Justin, with great delivery: “mm, you’re as pretty as a picture. Unfortunately, it’s a picture of some shit.”

Come Dining: David and Pippa are a Carry On film, Wayne is High School Musical, Justin is a british war film and Jonathan is Lord of the Rings

David and Pippa doing Carry On food puns is…exactly what you might think. Surprisingly it’s not until Wayne is entering that we get both a ‘melons’ gag and a ‘merrrr’ from David.

Here is the Wayne conundrum once more. Wayne comes in and does a moderately funny but very impressive HSM-esque verse, sits down, and the audience is applauding while Pippa’s trying to get a line in, so she has to wait, or maybe has to shelve it for Justin. You do see how this is shifting the dynamic, right?
And sure enough, Pippa does get half a line in, but doesn’t finish the complete thought before Justin comes in.

Justin brings back the rote, blunt delivery from the Early TV game: “this is probably the last dinner we’ll all have together…all I’ve got with me here is some powdered egg and some bullets, we attack at dawn.”
Pippa: “is it true, sir…are we going ta DIE?”
[SUCH A GREAT DELIVERY]
Justin, bluntly: “we’re all going to die, but we’re going to die for such a splendid cause: the Queen.”
Justin’s having a really nice show

Wayne, Indian accent: “I am thinking I am not very happy to die for the Queen at all.”
THAT is a great joke. And a smart joke that fits with the UK audiences.
Justin, fitting one last one in before Jonathan arrives: “…you’ll be first over the top, chalky.”
AND EVEN HE WINCES FROM THAT

Great moves in LOTR style. Jonathan, as Gollum going for ‘THE ONION RING’. Pippa stopping him with a ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS’. Wayne easily ending Jonathan’s scene as Legolas by firing an arrow right at his head. PERFECT.

Justin, reverting right back to the last scene: “…don’t shoot me.”
Wayne, with another great move, bringing back the Indian accent: “oh no, WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?”
THAT IS HOW YOU PLAY THIS GAME. This is flowing so well

We end back with the Carry On style, and David even brings it back a few MORE games by motioning to Pippa and going ‘THIS DOES NOTHING FOR ME.’

An absolute triumph. So many great improv moves, so much excellent dynamic work and yes-anding, Wayne blending into other people’s scenes amicably, and Pippa knowing exactly what to do in other people’s styles. David had a bit more trouble with this admittedly. Every segment of this was great, even if Wayne’s were the thinnest.

Sideways Scene: Pippa is a housewife, Jonathan is a vacuum cleaner salesman, and Wayne enters as his aggressive vaccum cleaner salesman rival

A rare Sideways Scene that Justin doesn’t partake in. Perhaps he knew he had the lead going into the final frame.

Jonathan struggles to get over Pippa, at one point sitting on her um lower torso. Pippa, a professional, has no reaction.

Then, Wayne can’t open the door. Jonathan has to scoot over to get the door. Once he opens the door, it falls on top of him, and Wayne has to get in, crushing him for a moment under the door. This scene is already a clusterfuck.

I like how all three of them play this once they’re all in the scene. Some very old-timey timing and back-and-forth

The Crouching Tiger style is pretty silly, and Wayne brings back his usual ‘dubbed-over Chinese film’ gag.

Then, when Pippa commands Jonathan and Wayne to come back down, Wayne does so in a way that his battery pack comes out. Unlike Jonathan’s dangling pack from 2 shows ago, the stagehands have to come in and help. Hugh even goes “we’ve got to get Wayne’s thing back in.”

What I like about the latter half of this scene is that Pippa takes hold of the scene, and throttles Wayne and Jonathan for “coming in my house, manhandling my carpets.” I’m glad she’s not getting lost in the shuffle.

An alright Sideways Scene, but it had some nice moments.

Overall: I had some of the same problems that I did in E2, but honestly much less of them. More games tonight emphasized the full company, and Wayne and Jonathan either blended into the group more or were allowed to do their own thing or take over games less. I actually thought David was a really cool ensemble member who would have done great with another appearance, and that Ruth was a fun foil that didn’t get a ton to do tonight. Justin and Pippa reigned supreme, with Justin having another strong night. Additionally, I think Jonathan had a better night than Wayne, though Wayne did have some great moves late. This was a pretty solid show, the best since the premiere, and a surer sign of great shows in the second half.

Best Performer: Justin squeaked past Jonathan and Pippa for the win.
Worst Performer: Ruth sadly had the least to do tonight, and barely got any substantial roles.
Best Game: Come Dining had the best, and most consistent, improv work of the night.
Worst Game: Upside Down didn’t work at all for me.

Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose- Episode 3, or I’VE RUN OUTTA GEORDIES!

Alright. So after the first of our American detours, we’re back with an all-UK rep company with this episode, bringing back Greg Davies, Jess Ransom and Marek Larwood to join Humphrey and Justin. What’s stranger still is that this is the first of two shows where David Armand joins the improvisers and Pippa Evans is the swing-in contestant, who joins in Sideways Scene. I’ve never seen David do anything except that specific game, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

World’s Worst: Things to say at a Speed Dating event

In getting to the seats, Marek jokingly bumps into David, who just playfully shoves him the correct way to the stage. See? Having a panel that all know each other is a GOOD idea.

This features the ‘hearts’ behind-graphic that would also be used for CWLIIA’s first season.

Justin: “I’ve, uh, got GSOH…which is a General Smell of Haddock”
THAT is good
Humphrey: “if you are looking for a fiery lover, you have come to the right place…cause i have covered my genitals with jalapeño peppers..”

Marek: “I’ve got a full jar of gasoline, and a half-shaven cat, and my mum doesn’t come back until monday.”
Again, Marek is the wild card here, and I couldn’t be any more here for it

Justin: “I’m looking for someone warm and funny…perhaps a recently dead clown.”
And Justin’s status as the backbone has been restored thanks to the departure of the Americans

I’ve counted two transphobic jokes so far, one from the guy who didn’t talk much before this episode.

Alright round of this. Some easy ones.

The fun fact round is about the worst heckles the players have gotten. Greg talks about one he got in Glasgow, but he can’t do a Glaswegian accent. Luckily Humphrey, who went to uni in Scotland, can.
Greg: “the line genuinely was ‘get off the stage, you are a 6 foot 8 tower of steaming piss”
And sure enough, Humphrey does the line plenty justice
Greg:
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 4.45.22 PM

Justin: “I was performing at an arts center in Devon, and they said “you’ll have to stop, no one knows who you are and we need to do the raffle”‘

Weak Links: Justin is a man writing a letter to Points of View, Jess is characters from Downton Abbey, Greg is a scary French teacher, and Humphrey is trying to be street

Note Greg’s reaction to the audience’s laughter at his quirk. Humphrey has to give a calming hand to quell him. Already, these two have had a fantastic dynamic all night

Like last show, we get a brief intro round. Once we get to Greg,
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 4.50.20 PM
…perfect
There is another good cutaway between Greg and Hugh. Hugh eventually goes “I can stare longer than you”

Humphrey’s is some awkwardly loser-y stuff
Hugh: “I’m afraid I’ve no idea what you’re talking about”
Humphrey, defeated: “me neither”

Justin has a very smart move, in asking Hugh to repeat the question, then cutting him off “you see, repeats, this is ALL WE GET ON THIS CHANNEL..”

Jess has a VERY GOOD, and very funny, impression of Maggie Smith as the Lady Dowager. What Jess is doing with these is playing off of the Julian Fellowes trope of the separation between the servants and the upper class residents, and sort of running that into the ground as fast as Fellowes can.

Greg’s drilling of Hugh is…hysterical. Not only can Greg be a mean teacher, but he knows a lot of French, so he’s got the volume, the intensity, the humor coming off him. You can catch Humphrey cracking a smile in the middle of this.

Humphrey’s answer to the football question is great because he gets the Fulham question right because he’s from there, then realizes he still has to commit to the bit so he just does some more bad street-talking. I like the angle he’s gone with, someone who’s bad at this.

Hugh, to Jeremy: “you, which fruit juice is in a piña colada?”
Jeremy, with some amazing timing: “oh, WHY OH WHY must I repeatedly have the word penis thrusted down my throat ON BRITISH TELEVISION?”
Hugh, even quicker: “I wasn’t planning to thrust my penis down your throat.”
Justin:
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 5.05.00 PM

The second round of the struggle between Greg and Hugh is even funnier. The timing of Greg yelling ‘NOO!!’ every time Hugh tries to proceed with the game is funnier every time he does it.

You do get the moment where Greg gets to the edge of the french he knows, and Hugh has to ask him, out of character, ‘can you actually speak French?’, to which Greg angrily replies, back in character, “NO!’

Then, as Greg is eliminated, he speaks more French to camera and, AGAIN, runs out of french words and nearly breaks. He eventually figures one out and heads off.

Not as good as last show’s, but with some fun stuff. I think Justin had my favorite of his so far, though Greg was far and away the highlight.

Marek, in the fun fact round: “I would name my racehorse after my granddad, so I would call it…granddad.”
Justin: “if I had a horse, I’d call it Pony Blair, and I’d have it shot.”
AH, 2010…

Interpretive Dance; Humphrey and Jess guess; David performs You Can’t Hurry Love by Phil Collins

So to recap, so far we’ve had George Michael, Marti Pellow and now Phil Collins. If George Michael is the coolest british guy we have so far, that’s not really saying much. What’s next, a Simply Red one?

This is a pretty seamless one for David. I’ve gotten used to his mimes for ‘love’ and ‘come’ being some dirty thrust, but he’s clearly got a lot of fun ones for this one. I particularly enjoyed ‘how many heartaches must I stand’.

Humphrey, confused by the multiple ‘comes’: “I think I know what it is, it’s popular Christmas carol O Come All Ye Faithfull”
David gives it to them in a bit of charades. Which means we get the excitable look on David’s face when someone gets it right again.

Probably David’s best pantomime routine to date.

Hugh asks the performers their biggest regrets
Justin: “er, leaving my DNA at the crime scene, Hugh”
Greg: “my biggest regret was two bathrooms and a kitchen…sorry, that was RE-GROUT.”
The rest of the gang love this one

Right Way/Wrong Way: Job Interview: Greg and Jess are the right way, Humphrey and Justin are the wrong way

Greg and Jess’s initiation is very pleasant, but an obvious contrast foil
Justin: “alright, specs.”
Humphrey, because, like Laura, it can’t just be on one person: “who told you to sit down, you piece of PISS.”

Hugh mentions Jess’s ‘relaxed atmosphere’ maintenance, so she slouches amicably, causing Greg to sort of similarly drop back in his chair. It’s a very silly moment.

Greg: “I was the shoemaker.”
Jess, loving this move: “the SHOEMAKER, oh my goodness, tell me some more about that”
Greg: “I shouldn’t be so arrogant to call myself THE shoemaker, I was one of four.”
Like last time, Greg filters in a comedic hook so their part of the scene doesn’t feel so much like work

Justin: “I’ve brought you, um…well, it’s not really a CV, just a page i’ve torn out of a porn mag, but…it actually does show you what I’ve been up to for the last few months.”
Humphrey barely keeps it together on this move. You can also hear Greg audibly laughing at it. I also love the move of, after Hugh begins to throw it over to Greg and Jess, Humphrey tilting his head to see the rest of the page, some great set-dressing

Greg does something smart, where he mentions “I have an instinct to kiss you passionately, but instead I’ll shake your hand and leave”. Leaving it open for the others to work with that.

Justin: “…have I got it or what?”
Humphrey: “not only have you not got it, but I’ve deported your whole family.”

Not as good as E1’s, but a lot of good moves here. Honestly, the smarter moves were happening in Greg and Jess’s scene, and a lot of them were subtle. Justin and Humphrey are great at working off of each other, so they just had a very nice, if a little easy, scene as well.

Party Time: 

Marek: “um, if I drive three nails through my dick, I can make half a ladder.”
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 5.45.09 PMScreen Shot 2022-03-30 at 5.45.24 PM
You could see Justin curling about halfway through the line, but the whole place blows up the second he finishes.

Then, Greg has to follow that. MEANWHILE,
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 5.47.48 PM
Greg has NOTHING. Remember this feeling when we get back into Series 10 of Mock the Week, he’s gonna impart this on someone else. Cause how do you follow THAT?
Greg, finally: “we drank each other…disgusted, to be honest…”

Justin: [chants an indecipherable language] “or as you might call it, salad cream.”

Jesus this one worked for me finally.

Dragon’s Lair: Humphrey and Jess are dragons, David & Greg are inventors

A new game. A game based on the popular business program Dragon’s Den. A game based on the popular business program Dragon’s Den THAT ACTUALLY MAKES AIR, CW. We have ‘Piranha Tank’ stuck in an edit bay, likely never to emerge, but at least Dragon’s Lair made air. Without a lawsuit from Don Bluth.

David comes on talking in a Geordie accent, saying that he’s never met Greg’s character before and was just taken off the street.
Jess: “can I just say, I don’t like Geordies, I’m out.”

Greg has a smart idea, and christens his prop, a yellow-roped device, as “the patented Geordie catcher”.
Greg: “as you know, it’s perfectly unacceptable to find Geordies roaming the streets freely-”
David: “it’s a JOKE, MAN. A JOKE.”
Greg: “…I’m sorry, he’s got so many bloody catchphrases.”
David: “ANT’N’DEC.”
Greg: “…see?”
I’m sensing a disconnect between the improv styles of Greg and David, and not all of this is exactly working for me.

The good news is that Greg’s energy can play off of David’s stumbly-Geordie-ness, and he’s able to demonstrate the ‘Geordie catcher’ wonderfully.
Screen Shot 2022-03-31 at 10.45.18 PM
David: “CHERYL COLE! CHERYL COLE!”
This is goofy in the most chaotic of ways

Even funnier, Humphrey, doing a Duncan Bannatyne impression, is about to inquire further but the audience applauds. So he even goes “alright, IF YOU MUST…”

After Humphrey asks Greg about the ‘practical applications of a tethered Geordie’, David shouts out ‘STING!’. And then realizes. “I’VE RUN OUTTA GEORDIES.”
David clearly is a performer first and an improviser, like, fifth. But the patheticness is adding to the effect of the scene

The scene gets so chaotic that Hugh has to try and bring it back to Humphrey and Jess like NINE TIMES before they actually do

Jess does the compromise, and says “I’d like you to branch out and make a sort of tether for people from Birmingham”, which is a funny subversion of some actual Dragon’s Den logic

Greg: “well…I am quite keen to distance myself from this piece of improvisation, as i am going up to Newcastle next week.”
PFFFF. The whole thing sort of falls apart.

So yeah…clumsy and chaotic as hell. Humphrey and Jess tried to keep things together, but David’s more chaotic improv sensibilities and Greg’s way of reeling in David and keeping the funny intact made for a damn near disaster.

Sideways Scene: Pippa is a bride being fitted by designer Justin, when her gangster fiance Marek comes to the door with a gunshot wound to the leg.

SO…we bring in Pippa specifically for this game. Would none of the others want to play Sideways Scene? Did they try to get Jess or Humphrey and they both went ‘oh, fuck no’? Either way, I’m certainly not arguing with adding Pippa to the mix, she’s great at this game, but we could have used her maybe in place of David this whole time.

Hugh’s giggling just reading the scene description. And something about the way he says ‘so, nice and simple’ after all of that reminds me of Clive Anderson.

The first thing that goes wrong in this game is when Pippa is getting onto the chair prop, and hits Justin in the face with her ass. This is what we’re starting out with.

And then the initial struggle of Marek to A.) do an accent, B.) get to the door, and C.) simultaneously have a wounded leg…this is very amusing

It turns to a simultaneous struggle where all three are acting and doing several things at once. Marek is pounding on the door and checking both shoulders, and Pippa and Justin are both waddling over. I now realize why it’s important to have these three play this game.

Then, when Pippa actually opens the door for Marek…he can barely get in. All the scooting in the world can’t get him more than, like, a foot across

The poltergeist scene is very silly, with obvious floating. I love Marek going ‘I think I’m alright’ then raising into the corner of the doorframe.
Screen Shot 2022-03-31 at 11.02.50 PM
…this is goofy as hell, but it’s working

Once Hugh changes to Jackie Chan style, Marek, who’s been fighting the door for a good few seconds, shuts the door, turns to Justin and Pippa and gets in a fighting stance.

The Great Escape style is wonderful, as Justin prompts Marek to jump over the chair in a motorbike like Steve McQueen, and he does. Yes, we’ve lost the scene, but this is still great

The Transformers style doesn’t make it any less silly. Marek does have some full-on 80s Transformers noises, but they end up doing more of a Voltron:
Screen Shot 2022-03-31 at 11.06.02 PM
Jeremy, barely holding it together: “this is the worst transformer I’ve ever come across..”
Pippa: “IT’S TRANS-O-COCK.”
…shit, and it’s a day late for Day of Visibility, I’m sorry…

We end on a really fun King Kong one. Yes, we lost the scene, but this was a pretty good round of this one, and all three did good work, even Jeremy, who can be befuddled in games like these.

Overall: A messier show, let’s be clear. A few of the games weren’t as good as other recent playings, and the latter half was rife with messier improv and pure shenanigans. I will say that some of said shenanigans, Sideways Scene, did account for some of the most fun stuff of the night, and the other round did result in the funniest moment of the night [Greg suddenly attacking David]. There was a solid backbone of stuff like Weak Links, Right Way/Wrong Way and Sideways Scene, and a few fun moments in between [that Marek line], but it sort of leveled out towards the middle of the road. I don’t blame the participants, save for David, whose promotion to the improv team may not have been the best idea. Justin, Greg and Marek all did strong work. Humphrey, a lot like E1, was drawn to a lot more straight roles tonight, as did Jess. A step down from the first two shows, but hopefully not an indication of the quality of the remainder of the show.

Best Performer: Justin Edwards, having some very proactive moves tonight in addition to being the backbone of the troupe. Honorable mention goes to Marek for…that ladder line.
Worst Performer: David made a few faux-pas’ tonight, and was better as a mime performer than as an improviser.
Best Game: Right Way/Wrong Way had the best moves. Maybe on another watch I’d go with Sideways Scene.
Worst Game: I wanted to like Dragon’s Lair, but man was that game a mess. It had to be contained, basically.

COMING UP NEXT: Jonathan and Wayne, Part 2 of 2.

Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose- Episode 2, or Typical Shoddy English Workmanship

Episode 1 of Fast and Loose established that the key to making a show like this work is having a sort of close knit improv community where performers know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and can work off of each other easier. Now, Episode 2 is what happens when we throw two extraneous factors into the pool with them.

This episode features Justin Edwards, our regular, as well as Humphrey Ker and Laura Solon from last show. Also aboard is Jess Ransom, who appears in two episodes, this being the first of them. And, as I mentioned, we have Wayne Brady and Jonathan Mangum here. And while before I was worried what this show would be without them…now I am worried about what this show will be WITH them. Cause I don’t think any of them have worked with Wayne and Jonathan before.

Also, as a note, this is the only taping that Pippa Evans misses. The three main figures of this show are Justin, Humphrey and Pippa…okay, four with David Armand, he’s also in every show.

Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 10.40.50 AM…ah, 2010-era Wayne, how I missed you

Hugh’s voice sounds a bit rougher tonight, perhaps he’s battling a cold.

Weak Links: Justin is an increasingly drunk bride’s father, Laura is a call-center worker, Humphrey is William Wallace from Braveheart, and Wayne is a miracle-working evangelist. 

Something I’ve noticed with Dan Patterson productions- in games like these on UK shows, the American routinely gets cast as an evangelist. First Greg in Mock the Week, now Wayne. Is it perhaps because that’s a link the british audience has to american culture? Is it because it’s a role Dan can pigeonhole US performers into while we’re over here?

Hugh includes an introductions round in this one. Laura says she’s a customer service advisor, “but what I want to put forward is that ‘service’ and ‘advice’ are very different words to ‘help'”.

Humphrey, perfectly: “MAH NAME IS WILLIAM WALLACE…AND AH DOON’T LIKE YOOOU.”
Hugh: “…I don’t like you.”
Humphrey: “FAIR CALL.”
I really do appreciate that Hugh is a wonderfully adept improviser himself, and can play along with these folks.

Justin, on his first question: “DOESN’T MY DAUGHTER LOOK GOOD. she’s…ya would, wouldn’t ya?”

Hugh: “what L is the main ingredient of the indian dish daal?”
Laura: “I can answer that, but I do have to ask you a security question first.”
Laura is very, very good at this game

Humphrey: “Wales…ANOTHER COUNTRY UNDER THE JACKBOOT OF THE ENGLISH.”
I also love the little twinge of a smile that curls around Humphrey’s face as he describes the oppressive force of ‘being asked questions we don’t know the answer to”

The best part of this is Hugh just stopping Humphrey’s rant in his tracks, and Humphrey, still on the verge of breaking, going “SORRY”
Hugh: “I still don’t like you.”

Wayne treats this just like a LMAD round, using the question as an offshoot for his bit. What’s really wise is him going over to Jess, getting her to stand up and immediately sit back down as a faith healer type. Jess plays along perfectly. I love her fanning herself back at the seats. Jess isn’t even in the game and she’s yes-anding perfectly. Great scene support.

Justin, even drunker: “The terrible tragedy is that..my wife is here today…”
I also love the quick back and forth of him doing a terrible guess, Hugh giving him the obvious answer, and Justin going, without registering, ‘YES’. You can see Wayne go down at that move.

Laura has tons of great details baked in, including tiers like ‘a blood sample and a caricature by a Parisian street artist’ to get through.

Humphrey, with a reveal you could see coming in the wide shots: “Iraq? They’ve IRAQ’D MY ARM OFF, YA SON OF A BITCH!”
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 11.01.58 AM
I also love Humphrey mentioning “and that Queen that I have sex with in the film even though she WAS NEE BORN FOR A HUNDRED YEARS!”. This is one he can really sink his teeth into, in comparison to last show’s.

And then, Humphrey gets so angry, that:
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 11.04.46 AM
CRACK!Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 11.05.00 AM
Humphrey, trying to recover: “TYPICAL SHODDY ENGLISH WORKMANSHIP! If that had been built in Aberdeen, I woulda pushed it over with impurity!”
Yeah, he’s…struggling to keep it together. As is the podium.

Hugh: “and you, Praying Man.”
[that’s funny enough]
Wayne, pointing upward: “i don’t hear you, I hear HIM. HE can ask me a question.”
Hugh, perfectly: “I am more important than Him.”

And then, tragedy strikes…Hugh attempts to read the question, starts again, then breaks character. “Oh GOD I can’t understand the way this is written!”
Wayne springs into action, and presses Hugh’s forehead: “READ!”
And then Hugh, delightfully taking the gift, does it almost in Wayne’s style: “THE NAAAAAME…”

Wayne, speaking in tongues, uses the fun move of healing Humphrey’s arm. Again, what I enjoy about US LMAD is that the characters can interact, and Wayne knows this, throwing it into this round.

Laura, to camera, post-elimination: “does anyone else think he really looks like the dad in Outnumbered?”
Ah yes, 2010.

A MUCH STRONGER ROUND than last show’s, and remember, last show’s was pretty good. Everybody had great characters, though Justin’s strategy of building off his own character work made him the simplest of the four. Laura once again did great detail-based stuff, Humphrey had a huge improvement over last playing, to the destruction of the set, and Wayne fit right in here. Just worked so well from so many levels, and is up there with some great LMAD playings.

Hugh has the performers describe themselves in three words
Humphrey: “uh…HUMPHREY LIKE HAM.”
Jonathan: “Not good at math.”
Justin, with nothing: “…Earth, Wind and Fire.”

FORWARD/REWIND: Jonathan and Wayne are Indiana Jones and his sidekick, breaking into a booby-trapped tomb, joined by Jess, as Indy’s love interest, and Humphrey as a ‘giant, angry zombie’.

I saw the SLIGHTEST eye-roll when Jess got her character. Jess, Dan Patterson, Dan Patterson, Jess.

The buzzers are VO’s done by Hugh, and Hugh has fun pressing them to give the audience a demonstration.

Here’s what’s cool about the Jonathan-Wayne dynamic. Hugh reads out the suggestion as ‘Wayne and Jonathan are playing Indiana Jones and his sidekick’. So, with Wayne being an improv legend and Jonathan being someone a lot of the audience hadn’t heard of, you would think that Wayne would be Indy and Jonathan would be the sidekick. Immediately from the first moment of the game, Jonathan is Indy, and it’s not a decision that catches Wayne off-guard, he goes right into his Short Round impression.

Already, you can tell that Jonathan and Wayne are pros at this game. They know what makes the forward/rewind hook good is the addition of sound effects and buzzwords. What puzzles me is the knowledge that this was shot before Improv-a-Ganza, and yet Wayne gets the ‘don’t say words backwards’ concept here and not in Vegas.

When Wayne does a leap-fall, then has to do it in reverse, Wayne’s physical abilities get a round of applause from the audience.

There is a moment where Jonathan gets confused, and audibly goes ‘which direction are we?’. Wayne is helpful enough to whisper forward, and he’s back on track

Wayne does a head-turn in a way that makes his bald spot a little more obvious here. Yeah, 2013’s coming, I know. That commandment isn’t official, but still.

Even sillier is Wayne and Jonathan doing the dual head-turning move together, being asked to rewind, and doing it again. Then, because of the force Jonathan is putting into this while still grabbing onto Wayne, Wayne drops character and goes ‘ah, my hand hurts!”

Jess immediately shows her fearlessness by running in and kissing Jonathan Mangum.
Jess: “Thank God you’re okay!”
Jonathan, to Hugh: “REVERSE!”
Hugh: “REWIND!”
HAHAHAHA
And so they run through this a few more times, now with Jonathan even more into it than the first time. Which is what Jess gets, I reckon, even if it was a great move.
Then, right when she thinks she’s out of it, Hugh goes REWIND once more. Jonathan flashes a thumbs-up to Hugh and goes back in

Then, in running from Humphrey, Wayne falls over inadvertently, which means with every rewind he’s gotta add that in.

Then, going forward again, Humphrey misses his cue-line from Wayne, so he’s gotta do it like three times before Humphrey awkwardly comes barging in. The best games of this are like a fun hot mess, and that’s what this is so far.

Then, as Wayne is entangled in Humphrey, he realizes what the hook of the scene is, and goes in to kiss Humphrey, which Humphrey is okay with. Then he does zombie moves and runs after Jonathan and Jess.

The funniest part is Wayne, right when he gets Jonathan, getting a ‘rewind’, having to go backwards and kiss Humphrey again. He’s like the villain of the scene getting foiled by his own plot. I love Humphrey shrugging before going in with Wayne again. You just hear these crying noises from Wayne. It’s like a whole nother element of this game.

As we rewind back to the top, I love Jonathan remembering the rhythmic look back and forth move, and eventually still getting Wayne in sync with him.

Then, as we get to where we came in, Wayne adds a line: “hey Indy, you gonna kiss a girl?”
Jonathan: “YES!”
PERFECT

So, like most Forward/Rewinds, it was very chaotic, and because [I can only assume] they brought it to the show, this was very Jonathan/Wayne centric, but this still worked for me because you could see so many improv moves, and so many consequences of them. Jess’s kiss eventually becoming a drawback, and a perk for Jonathan. Same with Wayne’s. The physical stuff of Wayne falling down grating on him. They found the hook [the excessive kissing] and went with it. Very impressive all around.

Wayne: “yep…I knew I’d get lucky in London..”

For another Fun Facts bit, Hugh asks the performers to give an improvised fun fact about HIM.
Of course, this leads to some pimping out, as Jess says “Hugh never passes up the chance to demonstrate his tap-dancing skills.”
Hugh: “…I’m afraid you got that one from Wikipedia.”

These are trickier for Wayne and Jonathan, cause they don’t know him as well. Wayne does one about the whole of humanity using Hugh as a space vessel to colonize Mars
Hugh: “…I’ve certainly got a powerful ass.”
damn right
Wayne: “Stage 1 boosters!”

Interpretive Dance: David performs Love is All Around by Wet Wet Wet for Jess and Laura

Yeah, I bet this one wouldn’t have worked in the US. Most people in the US have never heard this song before, and of the remaining people that half, half know it as ‘the song from Four Weddings and Funeral’, and the other go ‘wait, doesn’t Bill Nighy sing that in Love Actually, and isn’t it CHRISTMAS is All Around?’. You mention the name Marti Pellow in America and someone’ll go ‘she sounds lovely, does she do private dances as well?’

David turning ‘it’s written on the wind’ into a fart joke I will surprisingly allow

I also love his mime for ‘there’s no beginning, there’ll be no end’, him flipping through a book both ways to find neither is there and chucking it away.

Laura: “is there a song that goes ‘I have hands and feet and a penis and at some point I get off with you?”
David: “it’s a Beatles song, yeah.”
….I’ll allow it

I love the look on David’s face when Jess gets it. Makes him feel like he’s done a good job. Rather gratifying to see.

A pretty good one of these. I honestly liked his Careless Whisper one better, though

Hugh asks what tattoos the performers would get. Wayne does a pretty easy ‘snake exhibit’ joke for his privates.
Hugh, like nothing: “I see where you’re coming from.”
Wayne:
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 2.30.42 PMWayne: “I take it back…”
Hugh: “I wish you would”

Double Speak: Extreme Makeover; Laura and Jess have just had plastic surgery, Wayne and Jonathan are the bitchy plastic surgeon, Justin and Humphrey are the woman’s husband.

This is a variant of Three Headed Broadway Star, but moreso a version of Two Headed Expert, where everyone’s paired up and they have to speak in unison on proposed topics. What’s more, they get COSTUMES:
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 2.33.27 PM

Laura wills this line: “I have always felt that I wanted two heads, because”, and from there Jess knows exactly what the punchline is [“they are better than one”]

I love Wayne and Jonathan responding ‘WHAT?’ to one of Hugh’s questions. Jonathan wasn’t expecting that.

Justin and Humphrey take a slow pace, and Humphrey’s a little caught off-guard by where it goes, but I love their answer of “I thought it would improve our lovemaking.” Humphrey cracks a little too

I love Jonathan and Wayne’s reply of “two heads ARE better than one, and three is…french.”
…just letting that stand as it is

Then, on Justin and Humphrey’s next line, they confuse each other, and sort of abort the line.

Hugh asks Wayne and Jonathan what the procedure is called.
Wayne and Jonathan: “two heads.”
And like last time, Wayne stops. He’s very much in control of their twosome, and he knows that brevity is getting the laughs.
Wayne does have time to do an actual one with Jonathan: “it is known as…Duocraniosis”, which is honestly a pretty fun move

As Humphrey and Justin do their next line, you can already hear Wayne cracking up.
Humphrey and Justin: “I HUNGER MORE LEGS.”

This worked in spurts but not entirely for me. You could see some people, especially Justin, having troubles with this. Wayne and Jonathan were very comfortable with it, though. Honestly, it was just a bit too simple of a scene, even if Hugh brought his usual charm to proctoring.

Party Time: Most Pretentious Line they can think of

Humphrey: “for me, parmesan isn’t a hard cheese, it’s a way of life.”
[Wayne cracks at this one]

Jess: “Rienne de soleil-…oh, sorry, did I say that in French?”
Justin: “yeah, in my spare time, I just like to translate Will Self’s works into SANSKRIT.”
Stephen Fry?

Sideways Scene: Justin and Jonathan are two inept handymen rewiring a house. Wayne is the bad-tempered homeowner who comes to fire them.

Already, Justin and Jonathan know where the funny is, using each other as ladders, and Justin crawling over Jonathan to get to the door. At the same time, I do like Justin and Jonathan’s relatable sort of approach to these characters.

As Wayne enters and opens the door, Jonathan’s just going over to that area, so the second the door swings towards him, he has to stay out of the line of fire.

I love, once Wayne enters, Jonathan frantically suggesting they run, and:
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 3.11.05 PM
So silly

The western style is a good idea, as it’s a simple enough style that they can keep the scene intact. Also, I like how Wayne plays it. Comically enough, as Jonathan and Justin shoot Wayne repeatedly, you can see Wayne’s dangling battery pack flopping throughout, and coming undone.

Now what’s smart is that the western style ends with them throwing Wayne out the door, but the next style is Toy Story, so Justin and Jonathan use the kids’ movie theme of friendship to let Wayne, as Buzz Lightyear, back in. Unfortunately, Wayne struggles to fly over them.
Jonathan: “out of gas, huh?”
Even sillier is Jonathan, I suppose as Slinky dog, using his springs to jump over Justin

As for ‘gymnastic display’:
Screen Shot 2022-03-30 at 3.20.53 PM

The most meta moment is Jonathan accidentally standing, and asking Justin to ‘help me up’, which, in actuality, brings him back down

More of a broad game of this, due to the presence of Wayne and Jonathan, but not bad. You could see Justin hiding behind their improv sensibilities, which he tends to do when bigger improv personalities come into the scene. I liked the little improv moves that were there, in between the bigger physical stuff.

Overall: Comparing this to Episode 1, there are some immediate differences I see. I don’t think everyone was as evenly edited as last show. Jess didn’t really have active roles in many games tonight, and Laura was pretty much sidelined after the opening round. Meanwhile, Wayne was in every game that didn’t involve David Armand, and Jonathan also was in the majority of games. So…knowing what Wayne worked into the contracts in Improv-a-Ganza [SPECIAL GUEST WAYNE BRADY], perhaps he also wanted a bit more of a spotlight for these? Not that he wasn’t good here, because he and Jonathan accounted for a lot of really fun moments, and great improv moves. But I feel like a lot of them came at the expense of the british performers, and especially the women. It feels like the balance was sort of tilted towards the Americans, which, if you’ll remember, is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED WHEN RYAN AND GREG JOINED UK WHOSE LINE. So ALREADY, Dan and Mark are falling back into their old habits. If the majority of the rest of the show wasn’t all-british competitors, I’d be worried.

Other notes on this one- a lot more Humphrey here, and he came off pretty well. Justin played a lot more straight/foil roles, and after being such a strong backbone last time, the show felt like it was outdoing his reach once or twice. It also doesn’t help that the majority of games tonight were ones that Wayne and Jonathan brought with them [forward/rewind, double speak, even sideways scene], so the british rep company felt like they were reaching for a lot of it.

Not that this is a bad show. It’s really not, there’s a lot of great moments, Weak Links and Forward Rewind are great, and there’s a lot of fun little moments between everyone. Unfortunately, it feels more American than E1, and thereby closer to Trust Us With Your Life. I know that most Whosers watched this episode for Jonathan and Wayne, but it feels like a step backwards.

Best Performer: Wayne Brady, who pretty much ran the show and had a lot of great moves all night. I will give an honorable mention to Humphrey Ker, solely for Weak Links.
Worst Performer: Jess wasn’t really allowed to do much at all tonight, but at least she threw herself onto Jonathan.
Best Game: Weak Links. Oh my god that felt so fully formed tonight.
Worst Game: Double Speak felt very plain and stop-start to me.

Whose Offseason: Fast & Loose Episode 1, or My Jaw is a Perfect Square

Screen Shot 2022-03-29 at 4.23.11 PM

It is the year 2010. Whose Line is it Anyway has not taped in 9 years. Mock the Week is off and running, and has not only just lost Frankie Boyle, but it’s about to lose Russell Howard. And Dan Patterson was searching for something else to funnel his time into.

At this point, the Drew Carey improv crew was doing its own thing in the US, most of the alumni of the UK version were still doing low-key improv performances, mostly at the Comedy Store but both Paul Merton and Steve Frost had traveling ensembles, and Clive Anderson was laying slightly low. So whatever Patterson would do next would require new contacts and new ideas.

But…at the base of a new idea was an old one. Dan Patterson wanted to bring back Whose Line is it Anyway…without anyone who made the show what it was.

To this day, you poll someone in the street about Whose Line, and they tell you ‘oh, that show has Ryan and Colin and Wayne’. What has become universally beloved about the show is less the improv carousel that the UK version thrived off but the constant kindness of Ryan, Colin and Wayne. Dan did not have a constant base of regulars that fans knew and loved, but he wanted to do a new short form improv show with a lot of the same concepts, featuring a lot of news ideas and games and things.

And that was the undercurrent that came to define what eventually became known as Fast & Loose- the desire for newness, to be fresh and exciting while also feeling like a well oiled machine. This is a difficult formula, though. It’s hard to just say ‘we’re gonna do Whose Line, but different’, and get not only a crew of regulars onboard to sell it, but an audience who will vouch for it. That’s why CWLIIA succeeded so much, because, for the most part, it delivered a lot of the same things that made the ABC version, and the UK version, great.

Slowly, Dan, without Mark Leveson but with Angst director Geraldine Dowd, began crafting new ideas for short form games. There would be variations on World’s Worst, Let’s Make a Date, Remote Control, Film and Theater Styles, Quiz Show, Two Headed Expert, American Musical and Daytime Talk Show, and also new ideas from new circles of improv. The goal would be to combine new schools of thought in improv since 2001 with the ideas that had made Whose Line work since 1988 to make an even better improv program.

There was only one series. So that’s how well that worked.

In terms of filling the pool of performers, Dan looked to a lot of the same circles that succeeded before, like the Comedy Store [where Ruth Bratt would be found], stage teams [Marek Larwood, Pippa Evans and current relevant person in the states thanks to American Auto Humphrey Ker, had some], and various others. It’d be a lot of auxiliary players, without many big names, with one exception, that being Greg Davies. In 2010, Davies was not HUGE per se [okay, he’s 6’7], but he had made some Mock the Week appearances, had done The Inbetweeners, and was gaining a lot of ground. So getting Davies now, especially as the sole Mock contact in the cast, was a big deal.

In terms of hosting talent, Dan made an easy call to Hugh Dennis, in between Mock the Week series, and he was down. Dennis would be a polished, charming and fun choice for an improv show, with enough back-pocket abilities to keep the show running without losing things [unlike his replacement for the US version]. I still genuinely think that ABC would have loved someone like Hugh for Trust Us With Your Life, but they had their own ideas.

With a repertory company set up, a solid host in place, and some ideas at the ready, Dan Patterson was ready to launch Fast and Loose, but…he still felt like something was missing. A hook for the audience. Something to rope in fans of Whose Line without pandering too much. Something to harken in a new improv revolution.

So, Dan called Wayne Brady. Yes. THAT Wayne Brady.

I don’t know if Dan really thought that Wayne would want in on this, even for a little while, as it’d be some time in London and back into the swing of filming improv shows, especially after he’d made a name for himself on Don’t Forget the Lyrics. But, to his surprise, Wayne accepted, and agreed to come down and film an episode or two, provided that his comedy partner and main man Jonathan Mangum got to come along for the ride. Dan agreed, Wayne and Jonathan do two shows together, and we’ll see how they compare to the british rep company.

As stated, this show only lasts eight episodes, being an inspired failure for Dan Patterson, but it leads to several big things in the Whose Line story. Mainly, this show is the reason why Wayne Brady is still on Whose Line, and it’s the reason why Jonathan Mangum was chosen to be a fourth seater. The relationship cultivated with both performers in this gig, no matter the outcome, leads to Trust us with your Life, and eventually CWLIIA. Prior to this Wayne was the furthest from Dan and production, and after this Wayne would be very close to the central braintrust of the show. We have…Fast and Loose to thank.

So, let’s dive in. This is gonna be a little weird, a little haphazard, and not everything will work. But you can’t talk about the current era of Angst improv on TV without talking about Fast and Loose. And so we shall.

This show features the small rep company of Justin Edwards, Pippa Evans, Greg Davies, Marek Larwood, Humphrey Ker and Laura Solon. And also David Armand, but…we’ll get to him when we get to him.

As discussed back in the Trust Us coverage, this show has the same set, with couches and chairs for the performers, and has the same intro style, Hugh doing a running batch of lines as the performers cross the counter. Also, Hugh’s there standing in the audience, taking a page from Clive.

I also like Hugh’s intro line of ‘please welcome your host, a man who sounds a lot like me, Hugh Dennis!’

And yes, this show does also have TUWYL’s habit of frantic whip-pans around the audience.

Job Interviews: World’s Worst thing to say to a prospective employer

In case anyone wanted to know why CWLIIA’s World’s Worst became a side-step entrance game, this round, a World’s Worst offshoot with two chairs splitting the crew, is why.

Humphrey: “WHY DON’T *YOU* GIVE *ME* AN EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU’VE WORKED WELL UNDER A HIGH-PRESSURE ENVIRONMENT!”
Greg: “yes, I’m very much a people person. In my last job, I drilled a peephole into the girls’ toilet.”
[Greg’s last job was playing a secondary school teacher, so I CERTAINLY HOPE NOT]

Pippa: “Describe myself in three words? Loyal, hardworking, and racist.”
Marek, similarly: “I have got a really good work ethnic- ETHIC!”
Justin: “where do my see myself in 5 years? Sitting in your chair, wearing your wife’s knickers.”

Greg, reminding us who he is: “as an employee I’m very much like Dolly Parton, I work 9 to 5 and I have massive tits.”
Pippa: “I’ve been told to watch my SHITTING language. [realizes] oh fuck…”

Decent opening quickfire. I got the sense of who these guys are. I like the sort of absurdist, loser sensibilities I’m getting from Marek, I already really like Pippa, and I’m guessing Justin and Humphrey are gonna be doing some heavy lifting tonight.

I…am flummoxed by these in-between rounds bits. Here, Hugh allows all six to distribute fun facts about the other competitors. These also go by the same expectation/subversion logic as MTW. I.E., Justin’s one is ‘Well, I’m 6 foot 5, Humphrey’s 6’6, and Greg…is a pervert.”
Hugh: “…I think we realized that from the first game.”

Marek: “uhm…Greg’s name is spelled exactly the same forwards as it is backwards.”
Greg:
Screen Shot 2022-03-29 at 4.53.54 PM

Weak Links: Justin is a Cockney market trader, Laura is an outraged, jilted bride, Greg is a school bully, and Humphrey is a passionate, right-on campaigner

I’d call this one a cross between Quiz Show, Improv Jeopardy and Let’s Make a Date. It’s the format of Weakest Link, and as Hugh says, he’ll be playing Anne Robinson “only slightly less cuddly”, and everybody gets quirks. I did enjoy the audience’s reaction to Greg’s:
Screen Shot 2022-03-29 at 4.57.29 PM

Justin’s is a pretty basic characterization. I love his eventual answer to the question [which William was Doctor Who, Wallace or Hartnell], “the answer you’re looking for is, erm, apples.”
Hugh: “…no it isn’t.”
Justin: “what is it, then?”
Hugh: “it’s William Hartnell”
Justin: “that’s what I mean, apples and bells, William Hartnells.”
[jeez, can you imagine an American trying to watch this without knowledge of british colloquialisms?]

Laura, on the subject of Roald Dahl’s illustrator: “THAT IS THE SECOND QUESTION I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO ANSWER TODAY. The first is ‘do you take Graeme to be your lawfully wedded husband’, NO, BECAUSE HE HASN’T FUCKING TURNED UP.”
Ooooh, I do enjoy the lack of US censorship in this show

Hugh, to Greg: “you”
Greg, mockingly: “YOU”
Hugh: “…who had a hit with-”
Greg, mockingly: “WHO HAD A HIT WITH…”
and then we get this…perfect cutaway:

Just…perfect. You can tell the Whose Line mentality is lingering

Greg, continuing to mock Hugh: “MY NAME’S HUGH DENNIS, OOH, LOOK AT MY JAW, IT’S ALMOST A PERFECT SQUARE.”

Humphrey’s is a pretty simple characterization, one of those extreme leftists who can’t enjoy anything [of which, yes, I am guilty of being one of some days]. I do like him thinking for a moment after talking over the question and then realizing he does have the answer right.

Justin: “I used to sell fruit to that Reggie Kray, he was a lovely fella, shot me wife. She was asking for it, though. Phwoar, I forgot the question, tinnitus again. Apples.”
Justin, clearly, is fantastic at character stuff.

Laura, bypassing the question, just asks Hugh to marry her.
Hugh, slowly turning to Greg: “I can’t marry you, because my JAW is a perfect square…”

Greg, going on: “WHY DON’T WE ALL PLAY TETRIS WITH MY HEAD.”
Greg is very good at playing a prick, and I think he knows this, as it’s carried into a lot of his television stuff from the decade since.
And I love Greg’s little tetris piece impression he does
Hugh: “…are you still at school even though that game was many years ago?”
Greg, at this plot hole, smirks a little, taking the gift

Hugh ends the game by deciding that Greg’s the weak link, and Greg, in his walk-off, does one more pithy line to camera: “my name’s Hugh Dennis, and I’ve got a head like a paving slab…”

I think that one worked as a sort of LMAD-esque thing. Pretty much everyone did good character work, but Greg and Laura did the most connecting, as did Justin.

There’s another mid-round conversation bit, where Hugh asks the performers about DVDs they wouldn’t want to receive. Humphrey offers ‘Jaime Oliver Lisps the Hits of Fleetwood Mac’
Greg: “I made a mistake last Christmas and accidentally gave my mum a porn version of a classic. She didn’t like Forrest Gimp, Hugh.”
Very nice
Greg: “Life is like a box of buttplugs. It hurts.”
And then, as he is prone to, Greg cracks. As does Hugh.
Greg: “that’s not gonna get in.”
OH, REALLY?
Hugh, almost like this is a Too Hot DVD: “Well, it depends on how sharp the buttplug is.”
THAT is why you book Hugh Dennis

Interpretive Dance: Pippa and Laura must decipher David Armand’s Rendition of Careless Whisper by George Michael featuring Wham

Okay. So. I didn’t like this one on TUWYL. I thought it had nothing to do with the improv. I thought it had nothing to do with Colin, Wayne and Jonathan. I thought it was kinda pointless to have celebrities guess a song that maybe, by a stretch, has something to do with one aspect of their lives. However. David Armand is PART of the rep company. In fact, Laura waves to him, as they’ve WORKED TOGETHER. These guys KNOW David. And so it gives much more of a composed, included feel to this bit if it’s just a bunch of performers trying to guess each other’s shit, rather than Jerry Springer trying to interpret some guy doing a version of a song that he fought an animal to one time under the influence of something.

And now that I can see that from that perspective, a mate clowning to his friends, this actually kinda works. David’s rendition of ‘I’m never gonna dance again’, which is a NO sign followed by happily dancing, is very funny.

Also, unlike the Strictly-fied, rights-free versions we had to contend with in TUWYL, we actually GET the song. Like, this is the actual George Michael version of this song, not some badly done rendition to get away from copyright. The BBC can pay for the rights to this shit, just…thank god this isn’t on ITV.

Laura: “I thought nothing, but I am a little turned on.”
David: ‘Ah.”
Also, DAVID CAN TALK IN THIS VERSION. It’s not like TUWYL where I thought he was just a french-canadian weirdo who wasn’t allowed to speak english.
Heck, David can even sort of give it to them, and they do get it eventually.

So, yes…this sort of worked tonight. But mostly because this is a better show than TUWYL.

During a ‘Party Piece’ round, Humphrey proclaims that his face looks the same right side up and upside down, and attempts to demonstrate it. “Justin, could you hold my legs, please?” In seconds, the entire back row is tilting Humphrey upside down onto Pippa’s torso. You don’t get this on the One show.

Come Dining: Justin and Pippa are a US Medical drama, Humphrey is a 1940’s musical, Greg is a BBC costume drama, and Marek is The Terminator.

Okay. First taste of new improv concepts. Come Dining is a version of an onion exercise or a laronde, that has multiple performers but a variance of scene or genre or character depending on who is there, or who is at what point. As an improv instructor, I used to teach the Onion game, which would start with two players acting out a scene in a line- a third person would enter and would make it a completely new scene with three people, a fourth and fifth, and then as people would leave we’d return to those other scenes. THIS, folks, is the kind of scene-based improv stuff that I wished modern Whose Line would rely on more.

This is basically the onion game, only mixed with Film, TV and Theater Styles. The style changes as successive performers enter, and then back. I like that concept a lot. And it’s all set at a dinner party complete with a table and chairs set.

Also, very funny that the one actual movie mentioned is the one that Hugh has several bits revolving around [“I WANT YOUR CLOTHES, YOUR BOOTS, AND YOUR MOTOR-SICKLE.”]

Justin, right off the bat, forgets to use an American accent, then restarts with it. Pippa not only uses an American accent, but is loud.

The scene only does so much before Humphrey enters: “what’s that? Eatin’ breakfast? DON’CHA KNOW YA GOTTA SING ABOUT IT?”
[…if the word ‘nausage’ is involved in this, I swear to god]
The hook is ironically ‘when you see sausage on the table’, so I asked for it

Seeing Greg do a costume drama is funny enough. Humphrey is barely keeping it together there.
Greg: “I will not sit with you, sir, as I have not…received written permission from the mayor.” And he turns to the audience, very confused.

Now, Marek’s Terminator bit. Just asking Greg if he’s Sarah Connor. Initially, I thought Greg’s plan of saying ‘no’ was a bad improv move, but it led to something even funnier, of Marek just going around the table, asking if all four of them are Sarah Connor, and when all of them answer no, just sadly walking off. Marek, as I’ve learned, is very good at playing losers, and making the Terminator a loser is a funny move.

Greg: “Mr. Darcy, I’ve spoken with my father, and he says he’s happy to give you an apple.” And once again, he’s confused by his own improv. Not since Steve Frost have I seen someone so conflicted.
And after that, Greg just leaves without a word.

Somehow, Justin and Pippa fashion a fun ending out of this, with Pippa emitting the flatlining noise, and Justin subverting by going ‘no, that’s the microwave.”

So, given that Greg Davies is in this scene, a little haphazard. But honestly pretty fun. I love that not only did every entering performer add a new tone, but they added their own improv sensibilities as well. Humphrey’s more energetic tendencies, Greg’s crack-inducing confusion, and Humphrey’s sad-sack loserdom. It was just very hard for Justin to do things as more people entered though, but Pippa knew how to set dress. It’s one of those games I wanna see more playings of, because I think this one was good, but maybe not the best example of what can be done.

Party Time: Bad Chat-Up Lines

Another quick fire round, where Hugh plays in music and has the performers do bad pick-up lines down the line when they can.

Humphrey: “I’m strong and sensitive, andYOU’RENAAHTEVENLISTENINGTAMEEEE..”
Marek: “Um, I have just swallowed an abacus…because it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
YES

Pippa: “have you ever cried yourself to sleep? Cause I CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
Justin: “hey, haven’t I seen you before somewhere? Oh no, that was a DIFFERENT ugly woman.”

Decent quickfire stuff. The musical chairs quality is more odd set dressing than anything.

Right Way/Wrong Way: Proposing to Someone. Greg and Pippa; Justin and Laura

A pretty simple improv exercise. I’d equate this to something like Action Replay, where it’s two scenes joined by one construct.

Greg: “if you look up there, you can see I’ve rented a jumbo jet…and if you look closely, you can see it’s spelling out I Love You, now admittedly it’s taking longer than I would have hoped…”

Justin: “I’ll have two cheeseburgers…two onion rings…a milkshake-you want anything?”
That’s great. As is Laura’s stunned silence

What I also like about this game is Hugh’s hosting also turns into some pimping-out, saying that “Greg’s proposing combines a large amount of romance with heartfelt sincerity”

There’s a great move Greg has where he’s about to propose and Pippa’s still eating, so he goes “I’m sorry, how awkward”, and takes the forkful of food from her fork. Great way of affirming another performer’s choice, even in the moment. Then he helps the fork into her mouth, then he faux-kisses her.

Greg: “You know I love you, don’t you?”
Pippa: “I know”
Greg: ‘well, you can see it…you can see ‘I LOV’, anyway”
Greg is pretty damn good at improv, and can keep the scene and world in mind throughout

Hugh, wrapping up Greg and Pippa’s proposal: “so that’s the right way. In fact, I think that might be real..”
Greg, smirking: “certainly is in my mind…”

Justin: [gets up and grabs his crotch, then scratches his ass]
Laura, actually, has the best move: “sorry, I was quite drunk when we slept together, and I can’t remember your name.”
Actually giving herself a character in this, and not making it just about Justin’s folly.

Greg, in the third scene, succeeds in nailing Hugh’s ‘jumble of emotions’ prescription for him, the finishes the runner by pointing to the sky offstage and going ‘there, YOU.”

Laura: “the one thing that’s gonna be awkward is I’ve slept with both of your parents!”
Justin, almost insulted: “…so have I?”
PFFFF
THE AUDIENCE IS TORN
Laura, to Justin:
Screen Shot 2022-03-29 at 8.18.33 PM
Like ‘damn, you’re really topping my move?’

Pretty great round of this. Greg had enough comedy details to make the right way funny while being the straight answer, while Justin and Laura had each other on the ropes all scene.

Sideways Scene: Justin and Pippa are two newlyweds who are unpacking in their house, when a plumber, Marek, to warn them of a burst pipe next door.

And we have the game that TUWYL would keep, mostly because the sideways scene set was too expensive to leave alone.

Screen Shot 2022-03-29 at 8.23.28 PMJustin: “yes, we’ve unpacked the chair. I do wish we’d bought more furniture.”
That’s a great use of what’s around

Justin scuttering across the mat to the door is made even funnier by Marek simultaneously doing the same exercise to get to it from his side. Once Justin opens the door, Marek is flailing around with this insane energy, and carries that through the door.
Marek: “THERE’S WATER. THERE’S BLOODY LOTS OF IT.”

Even funnier is Marek and Justin’s struggle to close the door AND keep it closed. They have to do this twice.

Hugh does interrupt to add styles. The first of which being a surfing movie
Screen Shot 2022-03-29 at 8.27.17 PM
That is genius

Breakdance film:
Marek, still in mid-air: “I’ll do my break-floating.”
It’s almost like british people are better at incorporating styles in than Americans because they have much less broad sensibility about how scenes should go. I’ve thought this since covering the UK version of Whose Line

Then, Marek gets the genius idea to start spinning on his head upside down. It’s a very fun visual

In Titanic style, it’s as simple as Marek just sinking towards the bottom of the floor. They really lost the scene with these styles, as they tend to, but at least they were having fun.

There’s a very fun illusionist ending, where Justin has Marek ‘remove ze chair’ and make it look like Pippa’s levitating.

The end of the show is a reprise of the beginning, as everyone makes their exits past the camera.

Overall: Right off the bat, there is a lot to enjoy with this show. A lot of it owes to the close-knit quality of the rep company, with everybody really knowing each other, Greg knowing Hugh enough to screw with him, and Justin, Humphrey and Pippa all knowing each other from improv circuits. Having six panelists made me worried some people would be crossed out of the edit, and that wasn’t really the highest concern, as pretty much everyone had moments to shine.

It did come down to anchors like Greg, Justin and Pippa, and all three did well. Justin is the more traditional improv everyman, Pippa is a witty thinker in the spirit of Josie Lawrence [they work together at the comedy store now, too], and Greg is the crowd-pleasing wise-cracker with a penchant for breaking. Laura and Humphrey had good lines in support, and Marek was the night’s wild card, as I’m assuming he’ll continue to be.

Not all of the games tonight were complete wins, but none truly failed, even though I’m not too keen on the mid-game questionnaire bits. Hugh is a strong host who also has great improv presence, as evident in Weak Links, where he holds his own against Greg and Laura. There’s still this undercurrent of trying shit and seeing what works and what doesn’t, but right now quite a bit is working, and I’m optimistic on how the rest of this run will go.

Best Performer: Greg Davies carried the most tonight, and aced games all night. I’ll note that Justin was the more traditional improv connector, and Laura had the most under-the-radar success.
Worst Performer: Humphrey had the least amount of showcases tonight, despite a strong quickfire start.
Best Game: Right Way/Wrong Way had the most complete quality, and the best realization of the concept.
Worst Game: As I said, no game really bombed tonight. The most hit-and-miss for me was Party Time, as it sort of came and went. Even Interpretive Dance worked more, honestly.

COMING UP NEXT: Some American guests come aboard.

Whose Offseason: Space Cadets- Episode 10, or Let Me Rock You, Wrath of Khan

With no real online capture of episodes 8 or 9, we go right to Episode 10, the last episode to air, one that didn’t wash up online until a few years ago.

The panel is kinda basic- John Moloney is back from E2, and we also have Kevin Day from The Fast Show. We also have another Red Dwarf cast member in Chloe Annett and a sci-fi writer in Tricia Sullivan. No huge names, but this was also towards the end of the taping run as well.

Craig’s team is the Vulcans, Bill’s is, naturally, the Klingons

Craig is pretty high on the sneer-o-meter. I wish we’d have showcased a more sober consistency from him this run, as he was very funny but occasionally slipped into incoherency.

Greg, introing Tricia: “she’s a real, true alien, she’s from New Jersey.”
1. HEY. HEEEEEY.
2. You really think a Scottish audience is gonna get a Jersey slam? They’re a cautionary tale to most Jerseyites.

Greg has a whole esteemed intro for Bill, then cuts out “oh, forget it, he looks like a Klingon so he got the gig…”

Find it kinda funny that the only shows I’ve seen to use the First Contact round are the ones from the last third of the season.

Greg: “name four John Carpenter science fiction films
Kevin: “Carry On Up Uranus.”
Greg: “…CORRECT.”
There’s a fun moment where Tricia says ‘The Thing’ for the last one and Greg, freudian like, says ‘They Live’, cause it’s on the card. Tricia goes “or They Live, if you prefer”.

Now we know this one was filmed before E7, as Kevin makes Greg repeat his ‘Luc Besson’ pronunciation. When it popped up in the E7 taping feed, Greg cracked upon its inclusion.

The question is on what century Fifth Element was set in
Craig: “was it the century that fashion forgot?”
Greg: “no, it wasn’t the 70s.”

Greg asks Bill’s team for 4 James Cameron sci-fi films. John first multiplies the Terminator by 2, then by 4 “we got the points!” John is a fun little underrated piece of this show.

For Future Shock, Craig’s team get a few people trying to escape a lair and tailed by a very pathetic robot guy in a suit type.
Greg: “a gigantic rubbish bin with ducts on his legs just attacked them!”
Kevin: “did he jump in the bin and then do a Top Cat impression so everybody went home?”
[…why are there so many Top Cat jokes on these shows I cover?]

Craig: “does he start taking things off, cause it’s a robot-o-gram?”
Greg: “…a robotogram? My affection for you grows DAILY…”

Craig guesses that they use ‘some alternative means to kill him’. Sure enough, the hero throws a chair at him and he falls over harmlessly. It’s…extremely goofy
Greg, shaking his head: “I have newfound respect for furniture, ladies and gentlemen…”

Bill’s team gets a clip of a guy trapped somewhere. Bill talks over it: “I’M IN A SHED. LEMME OUT. IT’S, uh, NIGHT OF THE LIVING SHED.”
…Bill Bailey, man…

After the guy gets knocked out by pooling gas
Bill: “…he woke up, it was all a dream.”
John: “he switched the light off.”
Bill: “there’s a bloke in the corner with a bong, going ‘sorry mate’.”
…you can do that in 1997? And of course Greg gets a kick out of it
Greg: “that was a NUCLEAR bong…”

During the reveal clip, where, as Chloe guessed, someone came to help him, you can hear Bill going “bring out the gimp!”. JEEEZ

Of course, they do Mind Your Klingon for this one.
Bill, trying his: “…tall, attractive alien bloke with a spiny head seeks similar female for…human extinction and jazz.”

Greg smirks, and does a quick Butthead laugh, on seeing his next one for Craig’s team: “and stand clear, this next one has spray.”

Craig, guessing: “how dare you say I’m ginger, I’m a strawberry blonde…”

Greg, reading the right one: “it’s…your sister is a wormhole, and your father..” [smirk]
Craig: “alright, don’t get personal…”
Kevin: “your researchers have done well..”
HA

The commercial brainteaser is about a movie that stars Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett. I…have no idea.
Bill: “Spartacus vs. the Bionic Woman.”
Kevin, who’s having a great show: “Cleft in Space.”
Craig gets it right, guessing Saturn 3. A movie I’ve never heard of. BUT HEY, ED BISHOP WAS IN IT!

For Space Oddities, Craig’s team gets a green head-piece like thing that reminds me of something out of Mars Attacks

Tricia’s reading off the card. She says it’s from an Andrei Tarkovsky film called Behemoth Beetles. I, who have a Criterion Channel subscription, know he never made a movie with that title. So it’s not that one.

Craig, with the right one, rambles a bit more, doing some coke-fueled theology. “this came from outer space-NOT FROM THE INCREDIBLE FILM IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE…”

Craig: “this is a skull…”
Screen Shot 2021-12-28 at 11.38.19 AM
Craig: “of, uh, Abi Dhabi the Saucerman…”

Kevin: “this is, in fact, Duncan Goodhew with an infection”
PFFFF

Kevin’s is from an Ed Wood film. “Terrible director. Tor Johnson, and his brother Tor Guide, terrible actors.”
This isn’t even gonna be close, is it?

Like Tricia, I know it’s not Kevin’s cause the Ed Wood film described doesn’t exist.

As usual, Bill’s team does the murmuring to decide
Greg: “I see some FAKE CONFERRING going on…”
Bill: “we’re just muttering…”
John: “that’s what they do on University Challenge, [lower] ya know that Jeremy Paxman, he’s a smartass isn’t he?”

Chloe is dead set on Tricia’s being right, and of course it ends up being Craig’s. Craig has this funny gleeful nodding with the prop bobbing on his head

Bill’s team gets long, leech-like appendages

Chloe, with the correct one, says they’re Maya’s eyebrows from Space 1999. I think we saw them in a Future Shock clip a few shows ago

Bill, like he’s prone to, starts in reality, saying it’s from Blake’s 7, and then goes into his own material: “it’s actually the fluff that builds up around space weasels..”

John, using them as eyebrows: “some might say that these would be intergalactic Gallagher brothers..”

John actually does a really good bluff, saying these props are two of the mind-controlling slugs set loose on the crew of the USS Reliant in Wrath of Khan.
Craig, though: “have they been on a diet? Cause the ones in Wrath of Khan are a lot fatter, mate…”
John: “oh yeah, cause these ones are supermodels…”

Craig: “I think that I’ve seen a Wrath of Khan, and uh-”
Kevin, reminded of an 80s pop hit: “WRATH OF KHAN…WRATH OF KHAN…”
Craig, chuckling: “…I FEEEL FOR YOOOU…”
Greg, smirking: “Wrath of Khan let me rock you, let me rock you, Wrath of Khan.”

Craig and Tricia do agree with Chloe’s was good
Tricia: “but you’d need some special glue, though”
Kevin: “well I think the film set could rent some special glue, wouldn’t it?”

Chloe, after seeing the clip: “well those are shorter, mine were much longer…”
Bill: ‘right, we lost, Chloe…”
heheheh
Kevin: “deal with it…”

Final trivia scan:
Greg: “name the Klingon sisters in Star Trek Generations?”
John: “Eugenie and Beatrice.”
…of course

Greg: “what came hurtling towards earth in the 1979 science fiction movie-”
Kevin: “David Mellor.”

Greg: “where was The Lost World in the 19-”
Bill: “I HAVE NO IDEA.”
…that’s funny enough
Greg: “that is correct, you HAVE no idea..”

After a Logan’s Run question
Craig: “have you noticed that there’s no black people in Logan’s Run?”
Greg: “yes, you’ll also notice that there’s no good music in the movie..you leave white people alone for thousands of years, you’re gonna get a WALTZ…”

Overall: Another weak, end-of-run feeling show. Kevin and some fun dynamic moments lifted it, but it felt very flat, without many big moments or rounds, and without any huge gets to lift things. I initially thought this show had a very de-energized, ‘we know this is over’ feel, but watching it in order, it feels just the same as the others. And that’s the issue. After a while, this show sort of bottled into a sameness that it couldn’t escape from, til all that was left was stuff like this one.

Show Winners: Craig, Kevin and Tricia
Best Regular: Craig, who also takes the top prize of the season for me.
Best Guest: Kevin was quickest all night.
Best Round: Space Oddities once again had the most substance.

Space Cadets itself was a noble experiment, with some cool ideas, some good bookings, and resting on people like Greg Proops, Craig Charles, Bill Bailey and Ford Kiernan, who could produce a very fun panel atmosphere. Unfortunately, production and writing delivered this show more lameness than excitement, without enough cool ideas and rounds to warrant a second series. As much as I would have enjoyed the next step in this show’s evolution, riffing on 1998 or 1999-era pop culture, and booking other sci-fi personnel like Wil Wheaton, Anthony Daniels, or even Douglas Adams, this was only gonna be a one-series run because that was how the production and talent were treating it. Just a fun little ride for a few shows.

I mean, look at Bill Bailey here. He’s not at peak Bailey, clearly, and is sort of crushed under the bad personality mix and lame ideas some shows. A lot like how he was in periods of the later Simon Amstell era of Buzzcocks. Bill can only really be an asset on a project that has the air enough to let him mix in with it. He and Craig were also kind of polar opposites in their humor and energy, and I don’t know if they mixed well. Bill would get another shot at this sort of show, and he’d do a ton better, but this wasn’t a very good first go at it.

Greg Proops got to be himself for the most part, and held his snark over the show gracefully. Sometimes he did have to give into the blahness that was this production, but his usual demeanor seemed to win out for most of it, and he did have some very fun, and quick moments.

The best episodes of this show were the ones where the panels were balanced, everyone was in sync, and everyone was enjoying themselves. I point to episodes 2, 3, and 4 as examples of this. 2 might be the funniest one, but something like episode 4 might be the better organized panel environment because nobody really outdid anyone else, and enough funny things happened all over, in addition to the star power of 2 DS9 guys.

Ultimately, Space Cadets was just too messy to withstand itself. I’d love to see someone try something like this today, but hopefully they’ll learn from how this one failed.

Whose Offseason: Space Cadets: Episode 7, or You’ll Know the Meaning of the Word HAACHHT

Nearly halfway through the taping feed I received from Space Cadets Episode 7, Greg Proops looked defeated.

It was after the fourth or fifth interruption by production to fix something miniscule. The clip wasn’t set up right. The line wasn’t getting enough response. There was mic feedback. The taping of the once-energetic show had slowed to a crawl. And Greg was trying, desperately, to stay optimistic.

He muttered to himself “long ago, we started, in a galaxy far far away.” Craig Charles heard him, and started singing American Pie, as the producers were instructing a panelist on how properly to institute a prop. “A long long time ago…” Greg nodded, and added “I can still remember this afternoon, when I had a career.”
As they set up for the next shot, he said “and my agent said everyone will like it, it’s a comedy thing”, with enough disdain that the audience laughed with him.

Joke or no joke, it was clear that Greg Proops knew no one would watch, and that the Space Cadets journey would be over soon after it began. The end of the run was approaching, and soon the short run series would be behind him. And for years, Episode 7, the regular version, would be the last episode anyone could find online.

It was a panel that appealed more to the budget than viewers. The big sci-fi get was Ed Bishop, sci-fi lifer and voice actor from Captain Scarlet, but there was also a Red Dwarf booking in Rob Grant, one of the chief writers and creators of the show. We also had standard comic/panel guests in Ronni Ancona, future QI recurring guest, and Felix Dexter, 90s entertainer and less-problematic Lenny Henry

This one will be peppered with observations from the full-taping feed I unearthed earlier this month.

The producers signal the audience to applaud so we can fade in. They do this for about 15 seconds and then trail off. The lights do not come up.
Greg: “…wow, nothing happened.”
Someone explains to Greg that a camera failed to come up.
Greg: ‘camera 3, goddammit, get on the money.”
What I love about this feed is that Greg, when off the clock, isn’t doing his full host voice, it’s his laid back, slightly high, goofin around voice

Then, as the producers cue them up again, Greg goes “ah, the magic of television…spontaneity reduced to banality…”

Bill runs the Cosmonauts, Craig’s team is the Astronauts.

Greg, introing Bill: “clothes by design, hair by neglect, comatose by 11.”

Greg has to do Ronni’s intro again, cause right after he flubs a line: “focusing, forcusing….fuck-using..”
Ed: “new dentures?”
Greg, as he would on WL, or as Drew would, uses the flub to take a drink. “That’s good booze.”

The producers tell Greg he has to do the whole intro again. “The very top? Well, if you told me that if I fucked up in the middle we wouldn’t just do half of it…”
The lights go down
Greg: “alright, remember to applaud again, and remember how hilarious the stir-fried drugs joke was…and please, some false TV enthusiasm there. Pretend we’re in America and shit’s funny.”
Yeah, THIS is Greg. Rolling off the cuff, being vulgar and himself. No sanded-over hosting personality.

They film this again, with thinner laughs on the jokes, and louder, more artificial applause on the contestant reveals. This is not the one that made air, needless to say. From Ronni on, it’s the air version.

Craig is on full sneer to Greg’s insults. He’s back on the crack again.

What also makes air is Greg’s relieved smile, upon realizing he can go on. “Yeah, that’s right, it’s all good.”

This one begins with an opening trivia scan for both teams, a new wrinkle for the show, what, 7 shows in? Craig’s first question involves defining Rollerball
Craig: “am I missing somethin’ here, or is it a ball…that rolls?”
Felix: “was it actually a cabaret act that could juggle his own testicles?”
AND WE’RE OFF
What’s funny is when Ed strongly gives the real answer and Craig sheepishly goes “…alright…we were just jokin’..”

Greg asks them to name four non-human races in Star Trek
Ed: “Dr. Spock.”
Craig: “Kirk’s toupee…Kirk’s trills, Uhura’s earpiece…and Scotty’s accent?”
A FEW AUDIENCE MEMBERS CHEER
Greg: “those are just four unconvincing things…”

They cut a question, asking who wrote Neuromancer. Craig, as we’ve seen, is well-read, and knows it’s William Gibson, and adds “his best was Mona Lisa Overdrive, though”
Greg: “CRAIG READS!”
Craig: “SLOWLY!”

Also not making it in was asking what Metal Mickey’s favorite sweet is, which cracks up Craig’s team
Bill: “Rusty Nuts”
Greg: “…i’d like to take Rusty Nuts, but I think it will be cut from the program!”

Greg: “where is this quote from- I’ll be right here.”
Craig: “the creature that couldn’t be bothered to move…”
Greg, smirking: “he was one of the stolids…”

Greg, onto Bill’s team: “in Star Wars, what are the sand people also known as?”
Ronni, cutely: “Mr. and Mrs. Sand…and their daughter, Quick.”
Greg: “indeed they are, if you know them closely..”
Felix: “nervous around water.”

Greg’s next question involves the ‘psy-corps telepathic police’
Rob: “it’d be a short series. Cause they’re going to say ‘hey, he did it”
Greg: “there’s no wanted posters, they just go ‘you, I knew it..”

Greg cracks up, knowing he has to do the French pronunciation: “who designed the costumes for…LUC BESSON’s Fifth Element..it’s not so much the question, but my own french pronunciation that fills me with paroxysms, ladies and gentlemen…”

Greg: “where have you heard this quote before- ‘get your ass to Mars?”
Bill: “oh, uh, Howard’s End.”
Ronni: “no, it’s Chewbacca’s agent. Cause he hasn’t had much work down here lately..cause all the hairy roles got to Robin Williams…”

Greg has Bill’s team name four Captains from Captain Scarlet
Craig:
Screen Shot 2021-12-26 at 9.13.39 PM

Greg: ‘that ends our round of…uh, whatever we called it.”

Greg, riffing to the audience: “you know what we were gonna call that round? ‘Have You Seen Uranus Lately?”
[…groans]
Greg: ‘yeah, that is the correct reaction. Which is why we changed it. This is, after all, a family show…the Manson family, NOW…”

Brian the producer: “may we do the last question again?”
Greg: “yes, we may. Thank you for being so polite. And don’t patronize me, or I’ll crush you like a bug.”
How lucky you think the crowd is to get to see Greg riff like this?

In the taping, Space Oddities taped before Photon Photos. I’ll cover that here, even if it came later in the episode.

Craig’s team gets a long, cylindrical object with silver and bronze color and a funnel end. He says it’s the silver surfer’s sandwich. There’s a chuckle from the audience, and Craig has to go ‘no, he wasn’t eating it [longways]’. That gets cut.

I do love Ed’s description of science fact film. “3% fuzzy spaceship footage, 97% just interviews with cross-eyed hillbillies…who looked like they married their sisters.”
ALL CLASS.
[not a ton of response]
Ed, smirkingly: “…I’ll wait for that.”
Craig: “you’ll be waitin’ a long time, Ed, carry on…”

Felix: “well, the name Flash Gordon springs to mind in relation to this, cause uh…”
Screen Shot 2021-12-26 at 9.30.53 PM
audience: [does the math]
Felix: “most people would be happy with a couple of handkerchiefs stuffed down here, but not him…this went down there for Flash Gordon”
Craig: “down where?”

Felix: “…we need’nt go into that…I think you can imagine what I’m talking about.”
Craig: “I can’t, that’s why I asked.”

Felix says it’s a rocket that fired out of a cannon in a Flash Gordon movie, but says it with enough withheld details that it’s not a complete sell, even though that’s it. So they’d go for Ed, which they’re going to.

Bill and Ronni do some stage whispering
Greg: ‘god, I love fake conferring, it’s so realistic…”

So, they film the ending, of Greg saying it was Felix’s, and Ed was wrong, and then Greg goes into the next prop. And he blows a line. In the middle of a slam from Rob, saying it’s Craig’s girlfriend’s underpants, the cameras stop moving, and the producer stops the take and tells them to redo it. Greg was supposed to throw to the real clip. Greg looks kinda defeated, and sinks into his usual SanFran accent [“we sheow it, I fergot ta say that..”].

Greg asks where they want it from, and they want him to go from him reading the answers and throwing to a guess. Greg, as this is just like ‘back to the top’, does that: “GREETINGS, SPACE CADETS, I’M GREG PROOPS, YOUR MOST HIGH COMMANDER…our first captain brings a shine, in by 11, out by…”

So Greg asks for a guess. Bill’s team know the answer. So Bill, cheeky as ever, goes “…we reckon it’s Felix.” JUST USING TIME TRAVEL TO GET THE RIGHT ANSWER. THE WHOLE PLACE APPLAUDS.
Greg, Yoda voice: “YOU ARE WISE BEYOND YOUR YEARS…”
Craig: “you’re actually wrong, cause it was the SILVER SURFER’S SANDWICH…”

They finish that take, Greg hands the next prop to Rob again, in a version that DOES make the air, and then the director stops again. Asking the producer ‘where d’you wanna start from?”
Greg, from the top yet again: “hi, welcome to the show, it’s nice to be here in Scotchland…”
as they re-set, Greg takes the prop back: “I’m holding this between my legs.”

That take works, Greg hands the prop back to Rob, who sniffs it and goes “…you’ve had this in between your knees..” THAT is a fun move. It obviously isn’t gonna get on, but it’s a good moment.
Greg: “SO?”

Rob does go into the prop, which is essentially giant underwear. Bill goes “d’you want me to model ’em?”
Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 4.03.18 PMScreen Shot 2021-12-27 at 4.03.24 PM
This is peak Bill, just throwing himself into ridiculousness for the good of the gag.
Craig: “Bill Bailey: even in space, he weighs a little bit.”
Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 4.06.05 PM

Rob is given the correct one, that it’s underpants worn by the Vogons in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy television series. Does well with it cause he obviously grew up with the show.

Bill has a fun explanation of the Trek episode where Kirk kisses a green alien woman, and does it knowing that the show exists. On what the prop is, he just goes “…and she gave him her underpants as a memento…and they were used better in a battle between the romulans and the klingons called the pants of peace.” Bill’s such a funny person that he can sell this.
Felix: “Bill…go and have a lie down, mate…”

So Ronni gets the prop, and explains that these are worn by the titular child in Honey I Blew Up The Kid, and it’s a plausible, if slightly suspect, sell by her. Just one problem, the way she holds the prop, it rustles against her mic and creates feedback, so after a bit the producers come in and tell her to redo it.
Greg, as the producer tells him how far to roll it back: “GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO SPACE CADETS.”
Here is where the American Pie prattling I spoke of earlier happened.

So Ronni starts again, holding it further away from herself, and then stops midway through, pointing to Craig and Felix, who’ve been talking right through it.
C
raig: “we’re just BORED…DOWNRIGHT BORED.”
Ronni: “he’s not listening to my explanation…”
Craig: “I’ve never heard so much bluff in my life…”

The producers take this as a cue to do it again, which the audience groans at. So Greg intros it again, and the director stops IMMEDIATELY to give Ronni one more direction on how to hold the pants.
Greg: “OH GOOD FUCKING CHRIST.”
Bill, getting impatient as well: “WHY DON’T I JUST HOLD THEM UP LIKE THAT, AND SHE POINTS?”
Ronni: “yeah! Pointing at pants!”
Brian, offscreen: “GO ON, THEN, HAVE A GO!”
Ah, Scotland…

And so, the take that makes air:
Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 4.27.59 PM
Applause from the relieved audience.
Craig, as she explains, continues his ‘yeah right’ stuff, as he’s not thinking it’s hers.

Ed: “do we confer now?”
Greg: “we do confer, except Bill’s put the pants on his head..”
Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 4.31.13 PM

After Craig gets it right, Greg remarks how ‘delightful’ the photo evidence was
Rob: “was that you under there?”
Greg: “yeah…not a lot of people know, but I did a lot of Vogon work before…[smirk] before we landed here…”
Craig, once again: “do you sign a lot of autographs for Chris Evans?”
Greg: “yeah. You know, I get the best tables in London, I really do…”

Greg: “don’t make me use the painstick”
Craig: “you can if you call me Barbara..”
Greg: “and don’t beg, it…makes it happen.”
The loose stuff on this show just works for me, cause Greg and Craig are great off the cuff. And Bill of course, even if he’s lower key

Surprisingly, they do a Bill Shatner or Not Bill Shatner round, SANS SHATNER. It’s a quickfire, and there’s not much to it so I can see why it didn’t make air. I did get a kick out of Greg’s brief George Takei impression [“San Francisco, yyiii was born there.”]

After the round, Greg reveals, clumsily, the extra Bill Shatner cards. “That is where the magic of editing comes in…cause when you watch this at home…this won’t be on.”
Just rolling.
I also love him pointing out the next card that says “ask Hal for scores”. Just…tearing apart the show

The commercial tease is to find a movie that co-starred Peter Cushing and Roy Castle, an actor I am not familiar with, so I don’t know.
Felix: “Dracula in an iron lung…”
Greg, dodging the dark humor: “CLOSE…”
Bill guesses correctly that it was Doctor Who and the Daleks.

During the break, a makeup lady touches up Greg. “Guys in the uniforms, see what you get? Career in comedy and chicks spread stuff on your face.”

I will say, Greg plays the part of a sort of anti-establishment prankster but still follows direction, still does what he needs to. Brian comes up to the desk and tells him what to come back in with, and Greg nods and, being himself, goes “go away now, Brian.”

Ed, to the audience: “hell of a way to make a living, isn’t it?”
Craig, also referring to the failing show: “it’s difficult to make a living when you’re dying on your ass..”

Craig takes the prop he had for Space Oddities and mimes sniffing it, then smirks: “actually, it’s sprayed with a bit of paint, so you do get a bit high if you sniff it…”

Right before they go on, Brian informs Craig and Bill, and Greg, that Doctor Who Am I needs to be tighter, and is gonna be 45 seconds instead of a minute 30 each. “So you hope”, adds Greg.
Brian: “shall we press on, then?”
Greg: “..no, let’s just get pizza and fuck around…”
Craig, to himself: “ya ask a stupid question…”
Greg, goofy voice: “nahh, let’s just do lines and stay up bullshittin’ all night…”

So they go into Doctor Who Am I, with the purpose of getting it tighter this time. Bill, given Frankenstein’s monster, wastes about 15 of those seconds goofing. Around the 45 second mark, Bill’s still figuring things out, and asks “am I French?”
Greg: ‘well, captain Bailey, WE’VE COVERED A LOT OF GROUND. We’ve determined you’re a bloke and you’re not in a french film.”

Of course, as Bill tries to guess, Brian comes in. “We felt that was perhaps a bit too short.”
Bill: “yeah, give us a CHANCE…”
Greg: “well who was the one who came over and said “IT’S GUNTA BE A LI’L PAAACEY DIS TIME.’ ?”
I love that. Extra cranky, extra accent

Then, as Brian instructs him, Greg deadpans “Greg Proops will be played by John Sessions tonight.” UM. IF ANYWHERE WAS GONNA HAVE A SESSIONS SLAM, I WASN’T THINKING IT’D BE HERE.

So Bill rolls through the rest in EVEN SHORTER TIME, cause he already knows it. I assume so the editors can edit the two together. Rob, even before the controversy, refuses to give Bill credit for ‘Frankenstein’, as, you know, the monster and the scientist are two different people.

Craig gets C3P0, after essentially asking for him a few shows ago. Felix and Ed guide him through pretty easily. Craig asks if he’s R2D2, and Felix and Ed grow silent. Panic. Internally thinking ‘…which one is that?’

Greg: “you are indeed C3P0, or the robot from Metropolis, if you wish”
[dead silence save for a chuckle from Rob]
Greg: “thank you, that one was for Rob…and our viewers who read.”

We get to Future Shock here finally. In the final episode, it’s before the commercial break, and here it’s pre-final scan.
This is an intro Greg has to do a few times, due to line flubs. “Am I gonna have to begin at the beginning of this…lengthy thing?”
Brian: “…we’re just finding a nice place for ya.”
Greg: “alright…I’d like a small bungalow outside of…maybe a cabin in Pittenweem…”
[…perhaps referring to where Shatner was holed up]

Rob, after another blown take: “it’s getting late…”
Greg: “yes, I know it’s late…I know you’re weary…I know your plans don’t include me.”
…GREG, STOP QUOTING KENNY ROGERS RIGHT THIS INSTANT.

The gang just talks over the Space 1999 clip like it’s MST3K
Woman: ‘I do love your makeup!”
Greg: “and your sideburns!”
Sadly this doesn’t make air

Craig’s idea goes into a full Princess and the Frog story thing.
Greg: “Craig, this isn’t Fairy Tale Cadets…”
Felix: “what happens is-”
Greg: “Felix, would you like to visit the planet coherent? Because Craig seems to have drifted away…”

Felix jokes that she turns the woman into John Inman, and Ed jokingly goes with it. It’s a lizard monster, though.
Greg: “that was actually an old Blondie video where she turns into one of the Buggaloos.”
[barely any response]
Greg: “…god, your references are so old, grandpa…”

Bill’s team’s is simple: a scientist launches a rocket out a window. Bill has a few lines that don’t get much response. Rob makes a TWA joke that has a similar reaction.
Greg: “Unfortunately, what you didn’t count on, Rob, is that the crowd would have taste…”
What does make air is Greg responding “shall we try again with some humor?”

Rob guesses it right on the money, the rocket fires back through the window.
Craig: “how did you know that?”
Rob: “I’m a writer!”
Greg: “you’re a writer and you would have written that?? The rocket goes out the window, the rocket comes back in the window?”
Rob: “what else could happen?”
Greg: “SO MANY IMAGINATIVE THINGS…like the rocket goes into space??”

Greg rolls through a Hal gag that doesn’t work because of a boffed cue. He remakes “tiMING is the essence of my humor”

What does make air is an improvised Hal riff: “are you on VALIUM, Hal?”
Al, after a beat: “…maybe?”
Greg has a head nod, like he wasn’t expecting that to work

Now we’re onto the final trivia scan:
Greg: “what series did Chris Carter create after the X-Files?”
Craig, cheekily: “…the Y-Fronts?”

Craig: “dark…no, DARK SK-”
Greg: “DARK NO IS INCORRECT.”
Gotta love Greg

Greg: “Name the beautiful bald exotic crewmember in-”
Ronni: “William Hague.”
PFFFF

The answer on 2001 A Space Odyssey has Craig breaking into Bicycle Built for Two for QUITE TOO LONG
Greg: “Craig, Craig, you’ve got the part…”

There’s a long run where Ronni gets the joke answer and the answer to some questions, without Greg having anyone else go.
Felix, eventually: “we’re buzzing over here…”
Greg: “…YES, BUT THE ANSWER’S BEEN GIVEN.”
Felix cracks up
Greg: “don’t make me use the painstick…because I will. And when I’m done with you, you’ll know the meaning of the word..HAACHHTT”
PFFFF

Greg: “who had a hit with A Spaceman Came Traveling?”
Bill: “…T’Pau.”
Greg: “don’t just use Klingon words at random…”
Craig guesses ‘the Space Girls’, which gets a wince from Greg, and BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE.
Greg: ‘Chris DeBurgh…”
[GROANS FROM BILL. OF COURSE.]
Craig, rolling his eyes: “oh god, I’ve got ALL his records…”
Greg: “you know what? He wants them back”

You can tell there’s a goofy mood about cause at the end of the round, Craig shields himself with both his arms, and Greg smirks at the camera and goes “well, it looks like the toast is done…”

I didn’t mention this, but there’s one or two sci-fi audio files they play in throughout the taping. Earlier, there was an Alec Guinness “the force will be with you, always”. At the end of the taping, they play in a Darth Vader “good work, commander.” And there are other little clips, like a ‘WE’RE UNDER ATTACK’ and a confused Yoda ‘danger?’ that make it in. Though the latter may have just been Bill.

Greg, prepping for pickups: “yeah, now we shoot. EXCELLENT RUNTHROUGH, EVERYBODY.”

So what happens is that the producers figure out which games will be cut, and then have Greg and Al do some more points tallies, more accurate to what’ll be in the show. So while the taping cut has Bill’s team win 32-25, the episode cut has them win 

Remember back in Episode 1 when I said that the ‘I know where your plug is’ joke was from this taping? Well here Greg is briefed on this, as it’ll help the E1 conceptual dry run. Greg even goes over the joke with Greg Hemphill, who essentially does the joke dry before the audience can hear it live.
Greg: “okay, alright, the audience heard it now…”

Greg, to the audience: “now, pretend you haven’t heard the hilarity…”

And so, Greg sets up the Shatner round, Craig does some Yoda voices, and we end with this visual:
Screen Shot 2021-12-27 at 6.08.41 PMScreen Shot 2021-12-27 at 6.08.53 PM
[Yoda noises]
and we’re out

Overall: An average show of this. Nothing much from the panel, though Rob and Ed had some fun moments. Of the rounds that did make the show, I did like the Space Oddities kerfuffles and some of the trivia stuff. But it just felt like they didn’t have a ton they could use, they were running low on energy, and the show was just winding down. Bill came off really well in this one, and Craig, though hopped up, had some fun moments. Greg ruled on both the taping feed and the final episode.

Show Winners: Bill, Rob and Ronni
Best Regular: Greg Proops, he earned it.
Best Guest: Felix Dexter had the funnier moments.
Best Round: Space Oddities had the silliest things happen, especially Bill trying on the pants.
Best Runner: silver surfer sandwich.

COMING UP NEXT: Unless someone, SOMEHOW, knows where I can find episodes 8 and 9, we go right to the finale, with only a stellar comedy sensibility to save them.