Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E12, or The Product of Deranged Minds

The second of two compilations. This one, in addition to Ryan and Colin, features the two American semi-regulars (Greg and Brad), three British WL all-stars (Steve, Stephen Fry and Josie)…and Norm from Cheers. Yes, we have a full second episode from George Wendt’s taping, yet here we are with an appearance from him tonight. No Karen Maruyama, Debi Durst or Rory Bremner in this one, and no Mike McShane, meaning he’s made his final appearance of the show already. So has Debi, but…who cares, Mike > Debi.

Film and Theatre Styles – Ryan and Colin are glass-blowers getting on each other’s nerves
From: E2

Ryan is already cracking up at the scene description.

The first shot of the game, while not as lowbrow as I thought Ryan would go, is still great: Ryan is literally blowing air at Colin, as he yells “STOPPIT!”

Ryan: “You’ve blown a glass gun! It’s too bad-”
Clive: “Let’s start with an easy one, a Western.”
Ryan: “…it’s too bad you didn’t blow any glass BULLETS for that gun…”
Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 3.59.13 PM.png

Ryan has a great gag where he flings his glass gun in the air, waits 10 seconds for it to come down, then catches…and Colin promptly smashes it.

The Lassie style is hysterical, as Ryan is just motioning to something offstage without words, and it’s so goofy.
Colin: “…old lady Johnson fell down the glass well?”
At this point, Greg starts absolutely losing it in the background.

Top Gun:
Ryan: “Yeah, but your glass-blowing cost someone his LIFE, didn’t it?”
Colin: [dramatically turns his head and cries]

The My Little Pony style, where Ryan talks of stacking ponies on top of each other to ride properly, is a silly way of ending this silly scene, which didn’t go anywhere, but it was goofy enough to enjoy.

Quick Change – Brad briefs spy Steve about a dangerous mission. Ryan calls change.
From: E6

Another Quick Change playing! Awesome!

Steve, after two changes: “I’ve forgotten my contact lenses.”
Brad: “Well, luckily it’s in braille, so you can feel it…”

Ryan’s a good caller for this game, because he goes past the rule of threes (which, according to Brad, is the right way to play this game- keep going til they strike gold), and needles Brad, and Steve, into goofy stuff. For why there’s spit on the map, Brad eventually lands on ‘I just adore the smell of your cologne…’

Steve, after that line: “Sir…d’you wanna tell me something?”
Brad: “No, I don’t want to tell you that now, until you come back from your mission, because if you die, I couldn’t bear the pain of losing you.”
Ryan: “Change.”
Brad: “…yes, I’m trying to tell you something.”
Ryan: “Change”
Brad: “…I haven’t told you what I WANT to tell you because…the thought of your hand on my shoulder makes my shoes warm..”

There’s a very nice dramatic interlude, where Steve talks about what happens if he doesn’t come back. The scene ends semi-clumsily, as Steve decides not to end on that somber moment, but instead go back to the milieu and investigate what a pen on the table does, which does have us end with Brad, changing, into the line “if you put it in your pocket it’ll toast your nuggets”, which is an even better ending line than I expected.

A very nice Quick Change, and some surprisingly adept work from Steve and Brad.

Sound Effects – Colin is in a plane waiting to parachute into enemy lines. Ryan provides sound effects.
From: E9

Generally standard stuff for the first part of this scene. Only when Ryan starts adding ticklish noises as Colin does his chest buttons does it begin to get funny.

There’s another great moment where Colin pulls the chute…and nothing happens…and he has confused eyebrows.

This also has a great ending, where Colin lands in the water, begins to swim to shore…then Ryan plays in the Jaws music.

A simple, alright SFX. I see why it made the comp.

Animals – Ryan and Greg are pigs on their wedding night, when Colin, Ryan’s ex-wife, who was believed to be slaughtered, suddenly shows up.
From: E7

This one apparently won’t be in the next George show, which does exist thanks to the surplus of material from this one.

Clive, after reading the scene description, looks at camera and goes “…this game is the product of deranged minds”
You mean Ron West, then? I think he did a lot of scene descriptions and quirks for later WL. Maybe this one’s his doing, since he certainly was deranged (he was the Michael O’Donoghue of WL).

This is a very broad scene, with a lot of squealing, a lot of running around, and Greg just hoofing Colin after a while.
Ryan, breaking it up: “DON’T FIGHT…[tender read] Don’t fight over meee…”
Colin completely loses it here for some reason.

Greg: “Yes, and your sausage is small, and undercooked.”

Colin ends on the line “I’m gonna play with some roast beef”, which is a bizarre way to end this game, but…sure. Funny enough, but a bit empty in parts.

Song Styles – Josie sings a Sondheim song to Brendan the policeman.
From: E4

When Brendan says he’s a policemen, some people in the audience boo. Ryan, in the back, immediately mimes taking stuff out of his pockets and throwing them away.

As this is Sondheim, Richard throws in a very crafty time signature as well. Just as he would have wanted.

Hell, Josie also nails the overlapping style of verses, and the rhythm of lyrics over the music. This is a really good one.

This is truly masterful by Josie, as the players give her a standing o after that, and damn does she deserve it- she keeps up lyrically and tonally, turning this into a song about deep sexual regret (which is a very Sondheim topic). One of her best, by far.

Backwards Scene – Ryan and Colin are dead and Brad is a survivor after a saloon bar showdown.
From: E6

A game that hasn’t been played since Niall’s first episode, and still occasionally works.

Ryan, starting with his final words: “I….love you…”
Brad: [shoots him]

Colin, getting up: “You couldn’t hit me if you tried!”

Ryan, to Colin: “Next time, do it slower so it don’t go off the end of the bad.”
Colin: [mimes throwing something]

Colin, screwing over Ryan like usual in this game: “Tell me another joke!”
Ryan: “A PENGUIN!”
Colin: “I give up, what?”
Ryan, perfectly: “…What am I gonna shove up your ass if you don’t give me a beer?”

A game that, ironically, started slowly and had a fantastic ending.

Home Shopping – Ryan and Colin sell keys that don’t fit any lock, a piece of fluff, and old asparagus
From: E3

Mike McShane cameo, even if he’s not in this game.

Right before the game starts, Ryan is silent, thinking for five seconds about old asparagus. It’s clear that he has nothing for old asparagus.

Colin, with the fluff: “For a special time only, we’re selling celebrity belly lint.”

Ryan has a great runner about using the keys for things that don’t exist, just to fool people. He brings it back several times throughout Colin’s.

Right after the last lint joke, Colin and Ryan give each other a look. They know what’s next, and neither of them have anything for it.
Colin: “Of course…we also have…other things.”
Ryan: “Many other things! Things that are good for ya!”
Colin: “And things that aren’t so good for you!”
Ryan: “like what?”
Colin gives Ryan another look, near cracking: “I’ll tell you…old asparagus. NOW, WHAT POSSIBLE USE COULD A PERSON HAVE FOR OLD ASPARAGUS?”
Ryan, stalling because he knows Colin, and he, have nothing: “I know NEW asparagus is good for you, and good for your body, but [breaking] what purpose could OLD asparagus have?”
Colin: “Well, enough of the stalling, let’s get right to it! OLD ASPARAGUS…..IT…IS…FOR…THIS! RYAN?”
And Ryan, caught very off guard, cracks for another second.

Ryan and Colin do end up making a fun solution for this, with Ryan throwing in one more key joke, but as the game ends, Ryan is just shaking his head, going “oh my god…”

A fantastic ending, even building up through the rest of the game.

Three of a Kind – Ryan, Colin, and Greg are ice hockey players doing housework.
From: E18

Another game cut from an episode that hasn’t aired yet!

This game lasts 30 seconds, and has two jokes: Colin and Greg beating each other up over dishes, and Ryan having the other 2 shoot laundry into the hamper. If there are any other jokes for this concept, we don’t know, as the game cuts away after that.

Party Quirks – Stephen hosts the party. His guests are Josie (the Queen getting involved in a pub fight), Colin (being chased on the roof of a speeding train), and Ryan (Flipper trying to warn Stephen about various disasters).
From: E4

It also feels like Ron West must have written these quirks as well.

A reminder that we haven’t ever seen Stephen Fry play this game: the only times it could have been played are with a drunk Peter Cook, or with Enn Reitel. Neither made air. I can only imagine why, having witnessed this game before.

Josie: “…Are you…ucking looking at ucking me?”
[Perhaps a retaliation for Stephen’s ‘take your hand off me fucking knee’ from earlier]

Colin shouts “TUNNEL” and lands on the ground. Josie gets on top of him and punches him in the head…right as camera cuts to the doorstep. I would have loved to see impact there.

You can see why Stephen’s not very good at hosting: he’s looking around at all three bouncing off each other, and has no clue. Josie, perhaps knowing this, is the only one not being too overactive during this bit.

Ryan literally says “FLIPPER” in his dolphin voice…and Stephen doesn’t get it. As he tries to guess Colin, you can see Ryan in the back taking a hard drink.

It ends clumsily, as Ryan basically YELLING who he is, after Stephen guesses ‘is he that tellytubby again?’

A disheveled playing of this, thanks to Stephen not being a terribly adept guesser. I don’t fault him, I just think he didn’t really fit with the game.

Moving People – Colin and Ryan are Captain Ahab and his first mate searching for Moby Dick.
From: E2

Screen Shot 2018-11-08 at 5.28.57 PM.pngColin: “…I can’t see a thing!”
Ryan: “…this parrot’s gonna have to lose weight!”

Colin’s mover has him point to ‘Moby Dick’, then directly at his brain.
Colin: “…I’m picking up some mental images…”

Ryan, carrying the harpoon: “I’m probably gonna have to get a running start on this.”
The audience goes “oh”, for the sake of the two audience members.

Colin says he’s gonna come over and help Ryan, but Colin’s mover yanks him over so fast that he nearly falls over.
Ryan: “…captain I’m not sure if I still have the harpoon in my hand…”
Colin: “MY GOD, MAN!”

A pretty funny one, though it did have a few lulls, like a lot of tonight’s games.

Hoedown: Space Travel
From: E7

Gee, haven’t we seen this Hoedown before. Well…this is the first instance of doing multiple Hoedowns from one Hoedown suggestion, which is why we’ll eventually have like 4 Plastic Surgery hoedowns.

Greg’s is simple: he ends on the line “I’m doing a Space Hoedown next to Norm from Cheers.”

GEE, HAVEN’T WE SEEN GEORGE’S HOEDOWN VERSE BEFORE? Well, instead of including another Hoedown verse from another replaying of this game, they just included his EXACT hoedown verse from E7. The same one, that wasn’t funny to begin with, and was more of a cop-out. Which means the disclaimer was wrong: there IS NO NEW MATERIAL FROM GEORGE WENDT in this show. Even his Hoedown verse is reran. Absolutely unbelievable.

Colin’s is a very, very obvious martian probe joke.

And Ryan makes a Uranus pun. YOU SEE, I THINK THERE’S A REASON WHY THESE VERSES WERE KEPT OUT OF THE CUT. I mean, Hoedown’s a pretty meaningless game, but this one’s the most meaningless of them all, I think. Dear god.

Best Performer: Ryan, who had the most frequent gags
Worst Performer: George Wendt. See Hoedown. Or…the Hoedown from E7.
Best Game: Moving People was the most consistently funny, I think.
Worst Game: Hoedown. Just a dead game.

After this…comparatively weak compilation, we go back to regulation next show, as we continue the cobbled episodes from past tapings…as well as a show from a taping we’ve only seen in compilations.


Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E11, or What’s Yogi Bear Doing There??

Onto the compilations! These feature scenes from A.) tapings we’ve seen already, and B.) tapings that aren’t going to have another episode produced from them. However, despite the fact that we do get more content from both Brad & Steve shows, and the Rory show, here tonight, those ones do get another episode later on. So it’s a little baffling, but they were going for quantity, obviously.

Note that none of the American newbies the producers were banking on (Karen, Debi and George) are featured tonight. Karen and George have another episode from their respective tapings in the pipeline.

Questions Only – Rory, Greg, Ryan, and Colin are in the Olympic village.
From: E1

Clive mentions that this game shouldn’t erupt in physical violence, at which point Rory headbutts Greg.

Rory’s surprisingly good at this game. I didn’t figure he would be, seeing as he’s better at the voices part of improv than the ‘improvising’ part. Though, his second round basically cries out for a buzzer.

This is an odd one, as both Ryan and Colin are felled on simple mistakes, leaving a delighted Greg alone, without a word. I guess we know why this didn’t make air.

Colin: “Would you like ham, or cheese?”
Ryan: “Is there a difference?”
Colin gives him a confused look. Not as confused as the ‘can I have the recipe’ response from last show, but close.

A fun enough game, but it was insanely stop-start.

Film and Theatre Styles – Ryan is a scientist who’s been working with gorillas for 20 years, and Colin is telling him he has to come home
From: E4

From moment one, Ryan has the subtle gorilla movements down. That’s honestly all he needs in the first part of the scene.

Then, once the Pirate movie style hits, Ryan and Colin do wonderfully over the top pirate accents. Even Stephen Fry’s enjoying this in the background.

By the end of this style, where Colin makes Ryan walk a plank that’s just sticking out of the hut, Clive’s laughing hysterically.

Clive: “Muppets”
Ryan, with a fantastic Kermit impression: “How’s that, Dr. Simian?”

It’s going to become very clear as we go on that Colin doesn’t have a ton of knowledge about American children’s television. Instead of doing a Muppet impression, he just does a Yogi Bear voice: “What are we gonna do about THAT?”
Ryan immediately cracks. He does manage to go along with the scene, but Clive has to buzz, looks directly at Colin, and, like a disappointed parent finding the umpteenth bag of weed, goes “…WHAT’S YOGI BEAR DOING THERE???”
Ryan uses this cue to completely break, giggling at the absurdity of it all.
Clive: “HE’S not a muppet!”

The western style is wonderfully silly, with Ryan humming his own film music, twirling a bunch of bananas, and shooting Colin, only for Colin to catch the bullet between his teeth. Unfortunately we cut away after this, leaving the scene’s ending to the imagination. Still, it was a goofy enough round, and the Yogi Bear thing was the right kind of nonsense to hit.

Let’s Make a Date – Brad is the bachelorette. The bachelors are Mike (a dog making a dirty phone call), Colin (increasingly annoyed by Brad’s stupidity), and Ryan (channeling the spirits of Brad’s dead relatives).
From: E3

Immediately, Mike is caught off-guard by Brad’s LMAD voice. I don’t blame him.

Colin plays off of a Brad flub perfectly: “Can’t you get through a whole sentence without just stumbling? ONE SENTENCE! THAT’S ALL I WANT!”

Having seen this one several times, I can confirm that Ryan’s is absolutely perfect, and just the right amount of ridiculous.

Brad: “#1 again. OH, JUST WOO ME! WOO ME PLEASE!”

After Mike’s really good run
Brad: “Isn’t that fetching? Number tw-”
Colin: “‘ISN’T THAT FETCHING’??? Ohhhhh COME ON!!!”
Brad, unwittingly continuing a theme from E10: “Well I’m not gonna ask you anything, bastard!”

A nice enough round, though down from last playing.

Song Titles – Steve, Brad, Ryan, and Colin are at the race track.
From: E6

There are a lot of obvious jokes here, but Colin yelling “A HORSE WITH NO NAME” did get me laughing.

This game had a ton of lulls, especially a 5 second pause where none of them wanted to do another one, as well as simply never getting going. Like QO, this game would improve by being made a quickfire round.

Song Styles – Josie sings a big musical love song to Andy, an account manager for a fruit machine company.
From: E18

HEY, FUNNY THING: This game is from a taping that we haven’t seen any material from yet! This is a game from Episode 18, which won’t be for a while, and we literally don’t know what games knocked this one off the final cut of the show yet. That’s odd.

Also, lol, Comedy Store Player legend Josie Lawrence singing to a guy named Andy. As if she doesn’t work with one every few weeks.

Josie, in interacting with Andy, and Richard, feels like her Series 1 self, which is nice, considering how different this series is from Series 1.

Josie: “I want him to get his change out, and put his coin right in my slot.”

This is a fairly standard number for Josie, but the amount of zeal and clever lyrics she throws in does make it at least a memorable moment for the show.

Sports Commentators – Greg and Rory commentate on Ryan and Colin, who are two guys at adjoining desks in an office.
From: E1

With Rory, Clive has to have him choose an actual commentator to imitate. Rory, being Rory, goes for Murray Walker.

Greg asks Clive to repeat the scene description, as he’d already lost it, which Clive does.
Clive: “Too british, the way I say that?”
Greg: “Nono, I understood, but thank you for patronizing.”
Clive: “You seem to be leading with your chin on that one.”
Greg: “As I do-”
Rory, springing in: “At least he’s got one.”
Greg nodding, adds: “And a neck, too…”
And, as he starts to mime hair, Rory figures they should at least start the game.

They do manage to have a funny bit from the start, as Rory introduces himself, reads the prompter, gets confused as to who he is, then reaffirms that he is, in fact, Murray Walker.
Greg: ‘AND HE’S MURRAY WALKER…he thinks!”

This game, like usual, is very commonplace, but things heat up once Colin sticks a sharpened pencil through Ryan’s ears.

Greg: “I do not care where you’re from, that has gotta smart a little bit!”
George Lucas, taking notes: “…interesting…”

I do love Colin’s look of agony as Ryan pours the coffee down his pants.

This was better than most Sports Commentators rounds, but still had the same problems of being a bit too commonplace to get going, with a few exceptions. The banter helped though, and Rory was surprisingly fantastic at holding the game down.

Daytime Talk Show – Josie presents a talk show dealing with the horrors of washing up; Stephen, Colin, and Ryan are her guests.
From: E4

A new-ish game. Dan & Mark wanted to cash in on shows like Donahue with this game, but would eventually attempt to replicate the success of a certain former Governor’s wild, exploitive show out of Connecticut.

Here, the format is nice, though. Josie talks all three through their problems with washing up, so the three get showcases, and Josie gets a proctor role.

Josie, setting the tone brilliantly: “Hello, and welcome to ‘Come on, get it out!”

Josie mentions washing up liquid, and Stephen erupts in hysteria. Already we’re off to the races.

Stephen: “…I think it was when…Percil went onto the market…and then they started bringing out a lemon one…”

Then, as Josie moves onto Colin, she very delicately places her hand on Stephen’s left kneecap. And no one notices, but Stephen. So, as the shot settles back on Josie, and as the focus is on Josie and Colin, Stephen, randomly, shouts “Could you take your hand off me fucking knee?”
And right then, the whole place explodes. Ryan bites his lip- now he knows this isn’t making air.

Colin: “My wife and I had a novelty act, where we’d tie lots of plates and dishes to our body…and go over the falls.”
Stephen: “We’ve all been there, love…”

Josie: “Fred…look at me.”
Colin, squinty-eyed: “I AM!”

Josie: “Did you get the dishes glued back?”
Colin: “Yes, and they were spotless…but my WIFE…COULD NEVER BE GLUED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN…”

Ryan: “It’s ruined my life. My wife…has LEFT me…”
Ryan, with the PERFECT read: “…shut…UP!”

Ryan: “She took the dishes away…brought in paper plates…I washed THOSE…she took away my sponge…I used the CAT…”

After his monologue, Ryan starts maddeningly washing up nothing, and Colin tries to quiet his hands.

As Josie and Colin attempt to wrap up the program with a call to action, Ryan starts frantically washing up, going ‘MEOWWWW, MEOOWWW…MEOOW…”

That was…incredible. Moments of legitimately great acting from everyone, great proctoring by Josie, and a hysterical ending. I wish they’d played it this way more often.

Director – Ryan and Greg act out the film Alien when one of them doesn’t feel too well; Colin is the director.
From: E8

The second of two playings of Director during this run. Like the previous one, they’re spoofing a real movie scene.

Colin: “DOUBLE TAKES! YOU HAVE TO CONSTANTLY GIVE EACH OTHER DOUBLE TAKES! Because, in space, no one can see you [looks both directions, frantically]”

Colin: “As if it’s in a musical.”
Ryan: “WHAT?”
Colin: “A MUSICAL. WHERE YA SING. Annnnd do it…UPBEAT.”
Colin tries very hard not to break at that, before running off.

This is the strongest of the segments, with a very silly upbeat musical number, Ryan chestburting in time with the music, and the alien going “IT’S NIIIIICE TO BE HERE!”

Colin does another goofy addition: “GERMAN STRIPPERS…WITH A SHOULDER DISABILITY.”

Ryan doing the chestburster as a German strip routine is even sillier, though.

A bit broad, but a fine playing of this.

Song Styles – Brad sings a Britpop song to Pauline, a used car salesman.
From: E6

Yes, another SS playing in this show, but I’ll allow it, A.) as it’s a rare acknowledgement of Britpop by WL, and B.) because it gets Brad to admit he’s been watching Eastenders.

Brad absolutely nails the nasally, yelly nature of most Britpop. I call this one half Brett Anderson, half Liam Gallagher. Hell, he even name-drops Oasis here.

A really, REALLY nice song from Brad, beating Josie’s for the show’s best musical number. All this from watching Eastenders? Impressive.

Best Performer: Colin Mochrie, though Ryan and Brad came close, for going for more manic performances and succeedinng.
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, for divebombing his sole game tonight.
Best Game: Daytime Talk Show. Should have been in E4. Masterful.
Worst Game: Song Titles. Just dead.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E10, or Didn’t You Call Me a Poofter Earlier?

Trying to knock these out a bit more frequently, as well as moving towards more QI as well, but this UK WL, like the previous one, features the combo of Brad Sherwood and Steve Frost, which has worked rather well so far. This is the last episode before a pair of compilations, though it’s not the last bit of new material from this series, as E18 comes from a new taping, one which, judging from the sole episode we’ve gotten from it, must not have gone well on the whole.

This episode does re-use the intros from E6, though, although I still laugh at the ‘for his 900th consecutive appearance on this show’ joke about Ryan.

Questions Only: at a stag night

After some impressive quickfire between Brad and Steve
Brad: “You wanna dance?”
Steve, completely losing it: “Are you a poof?”

Brad: “Aren’t you the entertainment?”
Colin: “Have you ever seen a man juggle live bunnies naked before?”

After a brief go-round with Ryan and Colin, Brad returns
Brad: “What do you do with the bunnies exactly?”
Colin: “…” [breaks]

And then Steve returns, and Brad continues to play with continuity by asking “didn’t you call me a poofter earlier?”

After Steve denies it, Brad asks if he has a twin. Steve, smirking it off, says “yeah, I do actually”, not topping that.

Then, once Colin comes back up, Brad asks “Are you his twin?”
Colin: “Why are you asking?”
Brad, chuckling: “Have you heard of the FBI?”
Colin: “Are ya gonna put me in handcuffs?”
Brad, seductively: “Would you like to?”
Colin, genius: “D’you have something smaller?”
Brad: “D’you want some…oil to rub down with?”
Colin: “What kind of an FBI agent are you?”

The game ends after that line, though I doubt that was really the game-ending line, because the audience erupts in applause, and I don’t think it was at that. I think Colin set Brad up for a third poof joke. It’s just a shame we didn’t see it.

Other than that, fantastic round of this. Brad was on fire, and for once it was the Brad-Colin scenes that lasted the bulk of the game.

Sound Effects – Colin is on a submarine about to submerge. Ryan provides sound effects.

There’s just something silly in the air from the moment this one starts. The audience sort of giggles at nothing, though the gag where Colin wrings out his shirt is a nice one. Plus, Ryan’s alarms and noises are uniformly goofy here.

There’s a fantastic moment early on, where Ryan makes a ‘PFOOOT. PFOOOOT. PFOOOOT.’ ongoing noise. Colin, holding his nose, goes to open a window…THEN REMEMBERS WHERE HE IS, AND FRANTICALLY SHUTS IT. It’s a fantastic moment by both.

Great gag with Colin using the periscope. Ryan makes a ping-ing noise as Colin turns it, then suddenly breaks into distant faint russian. It’s simple, but funny.

Also, as Colin is turning levers, a random chicken shows up onboard. Colin gives a ‘…really’ expression to the chicken, though I think it’s directed at Ryan. Colin immediately wrings out its neck, which gets a huge laugh from the audience, harkening back to the supreme darkness of Colin’s SFX characters.

There’s a great ending gag, as something crashes outside. Colin opens the door to see what’s the matter, only for water to come rushing in, and Colin to frantically try and close the door again. I don’t know why that runner made me laugh so much, but here we go.

Another really fun game, possibly one of the better SFX rounds of late.

Let’s Make a Date – Brad is the bachelorette. The bachelors are Steve (characters from “EastEnders”), Colin (Brad’s annoyed flatmate), and Ryan (a prisoner going stir crazy).

This is the first appearance of Brad’s world-famous LMAD voice. Even here, it’s a little lower pitched than its usual form.

Colin nails the passive-aggressiveness immediately, possibly a cousin of his ‘hates everything english’ guy from earlier this Series.

And here we get the debut of a staple Brad line: “WOOOOOOO ME!”
Ryan, at the brink of tears: “WOO YOU? WOO YOU? You’ve gotta get me outta here, man…”

For whatever reason, Brad’s admission that he doesn’t smoke gets not only the audience, not only Clive, but BRAD HIMSELF laughing.

Brad: “Bachelor #2, at the risk of offending you…because you’re a BAASTARD…”

Brad, now making his voice higher to piss off Colin: “BACHELOR NUMBER THREEEEE! SAAAAAAAME QUESTION!”
Ryan: “What was it?”
Brad, now cracking up: “I don’t remember!”
Ryan: “I don’t…have you heard from the governor?”

Brad, still in his high voice, guesses Colin as “possibly Richard Dreyfuss from the Goodbye Girl”, which is a reference that cracks up Colin, ever the cinephile.

A very strong round of this, with everyone except maybe Brad standing out here.

Remember That Song – Colin is the barman; Ryan and Brad are his customers.

The best way I’d describe this game is a combination between Bartender and American Musical. Or simply…Bartender, except the patrons don’t leave.

Colin: “I remember your drink, right? Every kind of liquor, and a little bit of juice!”
Brad: “That’s right, it’s called a compendium!”

Brad sings a bizarre number about being naked in the park and running after old ladies, which is amusing enough.
Colin, immediately: “So what were you in prison for?”
Brad: “We-hell? That very thing.”

Ryan comes in as a trans woman, which…around this time, was a thing Ryan did occasionally. Brad, of course, gives the tits a good squeeze, and asks if he wants to go to the park later.

Brad, who is killing this show, sets Ryan up to be a former opera singer, which screws him over a little bit.

Ryan’s song is pretty great, even by Ryan standards. It’s pretty well done lyrically, and even if it ends in a lowbrow moment [‘they took away my penis, and gave me a vagina’], it’s still a classy ending to this scene.

A fairly alright game, though I feel like they only scratched the surface of what it could be. I would have liked to see other playings of this one, though I remember reading that they tried one during the US tapings, only as an impression showcase. I believe Ryan, as Carol Channing, was set up to have to name 10 countries in a song. And I wish that one had aired.

Press Conference – Brad, Ryan, and Colin interview Steve, who is Snow White announcing that she’s pregnant.

After Steve’s chyron comes up, he just waits for the audience to laugh, and cracks a little himself.

Ryan, right out of the gate: “Any idea which one’s responsible for this?”

Colin, after a pause: “…….I just can’t believe it myself…”
He just goes on this tangent that comes from out of nowhere…which reminds me that there’s probably a reason why Colin was moved to guessing after this season.

Brad: “At any time, did he whistle?”

Steve, in guessing, stammers that it might be Jack and the Giant Beanstalk. Clive, completing it for him, pulls a Mark Lamarr and says “no, not that…”

Narrate – Ryan and Colin meet on a sleeper train.

Thank god, this game’s finally back.

After a minute or so of fairly standard Narrate stuff, Colin: “…d’you mind if I…give you a pie?”

There’s a nice development where Ryan has never heard of a pie before, and is overanalyzing what it could be.

Colin: “He didn’t realize that the pie I gave him was made entirely out of some cardboard and pictures of apples. I’m a traveling practical joker. That’s my line of work. I enjoy it.”
Ryan, crossing to center: “….the pie was good.”
The simplest shit is just working in this game.
Ryan, channeling Dale Cooper: “…it was daaamn good.”

Ryan: “Say…let’s say you give me the recipe for this pie?”

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 8.37.36 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 8.37.54 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-11-05 at 8.38.13 PM.png[AND I’M GONE]

Colin: “…the guy was as tall as a pyramid, and twice as thick…”

Ryan, to camera: “…….every time I spoke to him, he just…walked away.”

A really fantastic game that built so much as it went on, culminating in one of the single best wordless reactions we’ve had on the show in years.

Party Quirks – Steve is the host. His guests are Brad (Huggy Bear from “Starsky and Hutch”), Colin (working on the underside of a plane when it takes off), and Ryan (frog who turns into prince and back again).

Sidenote: This is the third time of late I’ve wondered how the hell Starsky and Hutch was so big in the UK. First when David Soul came on Buzzcocks, then when Huggy Bear went on I’m a Celebrity. Now this. What gives?

Brad’s Huggy Bear impression is pretty great, for the record. Of course, Steve gets it in seconds.

Steve, after Brad leaves, just stands there and motions for Colin to come in, without opening the door. Clive, quietly, goes “…what a long member you’ve got”, which gets only a few laughs, but gets him to open the door.

Colin’s physicality has Brad howling back at the seats. Steve’s laughing so hard he can barely get a word out to guess.

Then, as Steve goes to let in Ryan, Colin’s blocking the door running around, so Steve has to try and go around him, which is amusing as hell.

Unsurprisingly, Ryan’s frog physicality is hysterical.

Not since Tony Slattery have we had such a frenzied party environment. Ryan makes loud frog noises as Colin runs around, hanging from the plane. Steve’s absolutely dying.

It’s even funnier as Steve tries to guess Colin as Colin wails repeatedly, and Clive keeps correcting him.

Steve leaves, completely gone, having been given Colin’s and Ryan’s, but laughing his ass off. I don’t blame him. That was one of the funnier Party Quirks we’ve had in a while. This show is just a force of nature.

Hoedown: Worst Nightmare

Steve’s is normal Steve stuff. He’s just had a down night.

Brad talks of having a very surreal dream, waking up, and “there in my bed is, Colin in my pants.”

Colin’s is classic: he dreams of eating cotton candy, waking up and noticing his pillow’s gone. Oldest trick in the book, but it still gets a ton of laughs.

And then Ryan:
“When I go to sleep at night you know my biggest fear.
That walkin’ around the room is some sort of cre-cheer!”
He then realizes he made up a word, or butchered a pronunciation just to get a rhyme in, and breaks. He looks at Clive, kinda ashamed, and starts over.
“When I go sleep…”
He then breaks AGAIN. AND KEEPS GOING. “I’m so afraid of the dark.
Then one night I turn the lights just for a lark
AAH! Right before me is a [cracking again] really ugly cre-cheer…
Then I realize…that I’m looking in the mirror!”
He then sighs a breath of relief, as that hoedown finally got out of his system.

Overall. A much-needed jolt of energy to a series that felt a bit dead. Yes, Steve was obviously a weak link, but the other three were having a wild night. Brad was the obvious highlight, having so many great improv moves, and coming off like a pro for the umpteenth time this season, but even the Ryan-Colin scenes were, albeit subtler, still pretty good. Plus, so many games, like Questions Only, LMAD, SFX, Hoedown and Party Quirks, were really good playings of games that have seemed weak so far this series. Having Narrate back was only a cherry on top. Just a really fun, really enjoyable episode with a ton of moments of cracking up, and some great improv.

Show Winner: Steve
Best Performer: Brad, for doing so well throughout the night
Worst Performer: Steve, for not keeping up with the awesomeness of the other 3.
Best Game: Let’s Make a Date. Just had the most going on, though I nearly went with Party Quirks or Questions.
Worst Game: Press Conference. Still a good game, but quieter in comparison, and a bit short.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E09, or Actually, Never Mind About Your Son…

I know. I took my sweet time there. But work is work. Nevertheless, here’s the last two episodes pre-compilations. Both feature Steve Frost and Brad Sherwood, but they’re both from different tapings. Either way, as Brad’s been unstoppable thus far, it should be interesting.

Clive’s intros are funny tonight, including describing Steve as ‘a man of a thousand voices, all of them the same.’ He repeats the joke with faces, all of them not human (Colin), dollars, all of them travel expenses (Brad), and appearances on this program (Ryan).

Questions Only: On Noah’s Ark

Brad, after going on the ropes with Steve: “Why did you bring ME as your pair?”
Steve: [cracks]

Ryan, proving he can get a laugh with three words: “…you smell something?”

Steve: “So WHERE are the giraffes gonna put their heads?”
Ryan: “Is that important?”
Steve: “Have you never worked with giraffes before?”
Ryan: “Is that apparent?”
Steve: [leaves]
A general note: none of these scenes last longer than 3 or 4 lines. Everybody’s divebombing tonight.

Ryan: “Didn’t I tell you to stay away from there?”
Colin: “WHYYYY?”
[Ryan takes a moment]
Ryan: “Didn’t you notice something unusual up there?”
Colin: “Didn’t you see the leak?”

Took way too long to get going, and felt very haphazard, but the ending was nice.

Film and Theatre Styles – Colin is a policeman coming to investigate strange going-ons at Ryan’s chicken farm.

Again, obvious pairing here, perhaps after the George-Ryan pairing didn’t really work out, but I’m kinda sad we never got a Colin-Brad pairing, especially considering their current status as a touring double act.

Clive: “Hang on, somebody just said ‘swedish porn’ there, because somebody always does! Is it the SAME PERSON WHO COMES EVERY WEEK…so to speak?”
HA! Clive is still fantastic at double-entendres.

FROM MOMENT ONE OF THIS SCENE, WE’RE OFF. Ryan has his back turned, and we hear a clucking noise. Then, as Ryan sees Colin coming, he chucks something (the chicken) offscreen, and turns to Colin. It’s so seamless that you’d wonder if Ryan’s done a scene like this before.

Ryan, taking the obvious joke: “Oh, you suspect fowl play?”

Ryan: “Look, I won’t lie to you…I’ve known these chickens for many a year, and we’ve…shared things between chicken and man [smirk] that chicken and man should not share.”
[Pause for audience reaction]
Colin: “…go on.”

The Star Trek style is an excuse for Colin to roll out his impressive Shatner impression. He even has a confused double-take with no dialogue, which the audience loves. Brad loses it at that, even.

Colin makes a noise, probably just doing a phasing motion
Ryan, taking the opposite approach: “Ah, a portable fan.”

Ryan and Colin riverdancing over to the chickens is worth it in every sense. I don’t know if it matches Robin Williams’ riverdancing on the show later on, but it’s pretty hysterical.

As Clive cuts them off, Colin is panting up a storm. Jokingly, Clive tells them to do more Riverdance, just to see their panicked expressions.

This scene does have a silly ending, with Colin’s dinosaur impression and a complete loss of plot, but this was still an amusing enough scene, with some really nice improv moments.

Old Job, New Job – Brad introduces his fiancee, Ryan, to his father, Steve, who used to be a dog show judge.

There’s a fun moment where Steve tells Ryan to sit, but Ryan has to figure out how to sit down onstage. He ends up crouching on the World’s Worst step [which, in itself, is foreshadowing as to how much of Ryan’s butt will be on the World’s Worst step during World’s Worst in Episode 19]

Brad, as Steve chases Ryan around the room: “I told you she was a good bitch.”

Brad: “She’s just nervous…”
Steve: “Come and put your head in my lap.”
Ryan: “I’M SORRY???”
Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 3.33.16 PM.png

This does have a funny ending: As Ryan puts his head in Steve’s lap for a good beat or so, he gets up, and says “…actually nevermind about your SON…”

Another fairly goofy scene, even if it was kind of one note, which is what a lot of OJNJ games end up being.

Home Shopping – Ryan and Colin try to sell waders with holes in them, already-chewed chewing gum, and a solar powered torch.

Clive hands Ryan the waders.
Ryan, smirkingly: “WAITER!”

Colin: “SHOP SHOP SHOP. SHOP SHOP SHOP. SHOP SHOP SHOP…..Nothing subliminal about this!”

Man, even with the goofy rationalizations, this game just isn’t working. The audience just isn’t laughing here.

They do, admittedly, have a fun moment finally, in describing the Solar Powered Torch, which even Clive admits is an original idea. Colin sets it up, and goes “now, HOW WOULD THAT WORK? Ryan will explain.”
Ah yes, the old ‘Ryan and Colin screwing with each other’ gag.
Ryan: “As you know, when it’s dark here, it’s light somewhere else. That’s why the Solar-Powered Torch is FIVE-THOUSAND MILES LONG. So you can get the sun on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD.”
Colin: “And if you’ll buy that, YOU’LL BUY ANYTHING!”

This game did eventually get good, but, like with Questions, it took a while.

Quick Change – Colin tells general Brad that they’re under attack. Steve calls change.

This game later became a staple of Whose Line live shows, and the eventual Improv a Ganza show on GSN, but I’d forgotten they gave it a try here.


Colin: “…General.”
Brad: “Yes?”
Colin: “We’re under attack.”
Keeping it simple..

Colin: “Sir, we’re surrounded by a hundred German officers.”
Steve: “Change”
Colin: “31 Lithuanian midgets.”
Steve: “Change.”
Colin: “A circus troupe with a really bad elephant.”
Brad: “This is more serious than I thought!”
Colin: “Yes, the elephant looks very angry.”

Brad lands on, when asking about the elephant, “does it have any…stealth equipment? Because I hate those stealth elephants! They sneak RIGHT UP ON YOU! AND THEN YOU’VE GOT A BUTT FULL OF PEANUTS!”
Man, I missed Brad.

Colin: “I do know…that some of the acrobats have bazookas.”
Steve: “Change.”
Colin: “Some of the acrobats have large guns.”
Steve: “Change.”
[the audience goes wild here]

When Brad asks Colin to repeat the hand-signals they used, Colin does one…and Steve keeps calling change on every hand-signal Colin uses, so Colin has to keep going through all of the ones he knows. The more Steve yells change, the harder it is for him to keep composure, but he mostly pulls it off.

A very funny game, solely because of how refreshing it felt, and how well the Colin-Brad duo worked.

Party Quirks – Brad is the host.
Steve (a strict German nanny)
Colin (physically in love with food)
Ryan (a film extra in a bar room brawl).

Colin is hysterical from the moment he walks in, going over to the turkey and putting his hands all over it…and then putting his head inside of it. Hell, Steve’s ridiculous as well, using the accent to its perfection.

The sight of Colin passionately eating corn is enough to get the ladies in the front row into hysterics.

This is a pretty standard PQ, with nothing else truly standing out.

Mission Impossible: Ryan and Colin are instructed by Steve to mow the lawn.

There’s a nice touch of this tape being used on a Russian tape player, so Colin spends the whole time winding it, so Steve even slows down if Colin’s not churning fast enough.

Ryan suggests they put on outfits so they can mow the lawn stealthily. Ryan gets on a rooster costume, which Colin immediately shoots down. I don’t know why I laughed so hard at that moment.

Ryan and Colin manage to get on top of the shed.
Ryan: “It’s a long distance down there, it must be four feet.”
Colin: “…wait a minute! You’re what?”
Ryan: “….6’5…”

Colin throws in a funny detail that the shed is locked on the outside AND the inside, which cracks up Ryan AND Clive.

Colin: “We’re gonna have to blow it.”
Colin: “…no, blow it up.”

Then, Ryan figures out how to get the door open: “You had mexican food for lunch, didn’t you?”
Colin stifles a grin: “I THINK I SEE WHERE YOU’RE GOING…”
As Ryan pulls out the matches, Colin shakes his head, not believing they’re actually doing this gag.

Ryan: “We can’t let ’em see us mowing.”
Colin: “…..I’ll get a sheet.”
[He goes off, not knowing how that’s gonna help
Ryan: “What would a sheep help us at this point?”
Colin: “SHEET!”

There’s a nice development, where they reveal they’ve been doing sheep experiments in the other part of the shed the whole time. Colin, to get the sheep to mow the lawn, says to Ryan: “You better put on your enticing sheep costume.”
Ryan: “Why is it always me?”

Another fantastic Mission Impossible round, proof that these two have been on fire with this game lately, with so many fun comedy details in there.

Greatest Hits – Ryan and Colin advertise Songs of the Farmyard, sung by Brad.

Why do I feel like this entire show had a barnyard theme to it? From QO, to Film and Theatre Styles, to Steve in OJNJ, to the sheep, and now this? So many animals in this show!

Ryan: “It’s 5 o clock, and you want to have a party, but you just haven’t got the right music, have they, Teddy?”
Colin, with delivery that made me cry: “NO!”
And then Ryan pauses for a second, then looks back at camera with a look that reminds me of Fred Willard.

Ryan names his German Drinking Song ‘You’re Just a Chicken, but What the Cluck’, which is pretty genius.

Colin: “Oh, that song always fails to bring a tear to my eye.”
They cut to Brad, who cracks at that.

Colin ends up one-upping Ryan, by calling the punk song ‘is that an ear of corn, or are you just happy to see me?’. Ryan can only hold his stern expression for so long before losing it.

Brad starts his song with an ‘OY!’ Didn’t know Blur counted as Punk. No, but this does actually end up being a pretty cool London punk number, thanks to Brad’s full embrace of the genre.

Ryan does win the song-naming day by calling the French song ‘you may be just a horse, but you’ve got a hell of an ass.’ They hold on them for a moment, which is hysterical, reminiscent of the ESPN Classic sketches on SNL, and then somebody does a wolf-whistle from the audience.

Brad’s song is great, but in the middle of a higher note, he completely cracks up, looking over at Richard for help, even.

A pretty satisfying Greatest Hits, even though it’s a bit lower than some of the recent playings.

The credit reading is alright, if only for Steve yelling out “OY! VRANCH! NICE ASS!”

Overall: One of the weaker outings of this series, despite great games like Quick Change and Mission Impossible. A lot of rounds seemed very ho-hum, and without much of a point. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault in particular, as all four were fine, though Brad had a few more faux-pas’ than usual, and Steve didn’t get much chance to prove himself, but…I’ve seen the other show that came from this taping, and it’s a lot better. This was definitely a Ryan-Colin show, which isn’t really a problem, as they elevated the games that were here, but…not a lot was terribly great.

Show Winners: Ryan and Steve
Best Performer: Colin Mochrie, edging out Ryan solely on that ‘NO!’ in Greatest Hits.
Worst Performer: Steve Frost, who kind of got shafted tonight
Best Game: Mission Impossible, by far
Worst Game: Party Quirks. Just a very weak one.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E08, or Nazis Don’t Take Showers!

And on the heels of ONE bad booking decision by the producers, we go straight into another…

Debi Durst probably wasn’t brought on due to her own improv abilities or anything. I think she was just brought on because Greg Proops knew her, as they’d worked together on Nightmare Before Christmas (yes, Greg was in that!), and Greg recommended her for the show. And, uh…it makes George Wendt look like Ryan Stiles, let’s just say.

What people usually have problem with in terms of Debi is the fact that she came to the show adorned in a faux-baseball jersey, saying ‘Clowns’, which may rival the ’88 Comic Relief t-shirt from Paul Merton as the most informal WL dressing decision to date.

Questions Only – All four are in Star Wars.

One of the more intriguing things is that Debi is right there with everyone in terms of staying in the game on this one, only making a few minor rookie mistakes.

Ryan, stepping in with Colin: “…are you Yoda?”
This works, as Colin is wearing a green shirt.

Colin: “What race are you from?”
Ryan: “…does American sound too strange??”

Colin: “Can you perform the first test?”
Ryan: “…is that oral sex?”
Colin: [slowly cracks up]

Then Greg, without a choice, comes in, and goes “…do you WANT oral sex?”
Ryan: “…doesn’t every man???”
Greg: “Can’t you reach out with your feelings?”
Ryan: “…can I reach out with something else?”
[Ryan is just killing it tonight]
Greg: “Is it long enough?”
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 4.33.41 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 4.34.00 PM.png

A really strong Questions Only over all, with no real moments of patheticness, even for Debi.

Superheroes: Mascara shortage
Greg: Wonder Woman
Ryan: Bad John Wayne Impression Boy
Colin: Pants Around the Ankles Boy
Debi: Nagging Jewish Mother Woman

Despite a cry of ‘sarcasm man’, Clive ends up picking Wonder Woman for Greg, which is a bit too mundane for me, but Greg rolls with it.

A gruff, man’s voice shouts out ‘shortage of mascara’ for the crisis
Clive: “…have YOU noticed this?”

Greg: “Oh my god, there’s a worldwide shortage of mascara! What are all the drag queens going to do??”

Colin, at Ryan adorning him with ‘Pants Around the Ankles Boy’, gives him this look:
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 4.39.27 PM.png
And then he cracks a bit.

Greg, to Debi as Naggging Jewish Mother Woman: “There’s no mascara left, and I’m sorry I didn’t call!”
Debi: “I’ll just go home and get some out of the closet…”
…An actual working Superheroes solution from Debi Durst? Was not expecting that.

Greg, as Colin leaves: “Goodbye…oh, HELL-LO…”

Not a bad Superheroes, and better than last show’s. Again, Debi wasn’t bad here, either. I know people call her one of the worst, and I can definitely say she’s kinda bawdy so far, but she’s not committing any improv sins.

Let’s Make a Date: Greg chooses:
Debi: Popeye
Colin: knows Greg’s dirty secrets
Ryan: in dental surgery

Greg: “…gosh, I love vaudeville!”

Colin, smirking a ton in this game: “everything’s fast with you, isn’t it?”

Greg, after a non-sequiter Debi answer: “…#2-”
Ryan, from across the stage: ‘AHHHH! AHHHHH!”

Ryan, for his second round, talks like he’s on a lot of novocaine, with his lips deliberately kind of shut.

Greg: “I’m gonna start with #3, because Debi is perplexing and baffling me…”
You and the entire WL fanbase, Greg

Greg: “#1 is either BURGESS MEREDITH IN ROCKY…or a pirate with some sort of glandular condition…”

Yeah, this one was pretty strong, because you had all three sort of bouncing off of Greg, and a lot of really good interplay moments. And Debi…didn’t have the greatest Popeye impression, but she was still getting laughs.

Animals – Ryan is a businessman taking prospective business partner Greg to a go-go bar, Colin is a dancer and Ryan’s wife; they are two cockerels and a hen respectively.

Man, these Animals scenes got really high-concept. All three performers are giving each other really weird looks pre-scene.

There’s nothing too out of the ordinary in this one, but the visuals of Greg and Ryan as horny roosters, and Colin’s entire act, is just silly enough.
Greg: “Look at the plumage on that hen!”

Then, as Ryan realizes who Colin is, he starts loudly ‘BA-CAAAAA’-ing, to the point where it just makes this scene worth it, as Colin runs around. Clive’s even losing it.

To be honest, this one was cut a bit too short for me, but it still worked, and was silly enough to work.

World’s Worst: Television Program

Greg, bringing out the John Major voice for the second consecutive show: “Good morning, children. I used to be Prime Minister…”

Colin: “Today on Famous Queen Waves…July 15th, 1954…”

Colin: “How d’you make wine…from pork? Let’s find out.”
Debi: “Alright, children. Now that your parents are out of the house, let’s smoke some cigarettes!”

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.27.19 PM.pngColin: “[cough]…[cough]…now you…”

Greg, nodding at Colin, goes straight into his second straight Clive impression: “Well, totaling up the scores, I see that sadly Ryan is the winner. All that remains is for me to thank…”
[He forgot ‘read the credits in the style of my choosing!’]

Not as good as last show’s WW, but still pretty strong.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and Debi

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.30.18 PM.pngDebi: “Yes, you CAN swing a dead cat in here!”

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.30.50 PM.pngColin: “DAFFY, GET OFF THE HIGHWAY- Ohhh…”

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.31.37 PM.pngGreg: “GOOD MORNING! AND WELCOME TO THE *ADULT* MUPPETS!”

I didn’t even write down all the good ones, but MAN, these were some of the most original props ideas we’ve had in a while. Both sides were great. EVEN DEBI. I’m just gonna say it, we’re halfway through and she hasn’t bombed a game yet. She’s still bringing up the rear of the show, because…with these three, you’d have to be Brad Sherwood to NOT, but she’s still holding her own, IMO.

Weird Newscasters: Greg anchors
Ryan (a crazy old man) is the co-anchor
Debi (getting repeatedly massive electric shocks)
and Colin (desperate to catch a plane) is the weatherman.

Lots of Greg-proctored games tonight.

Greg: “Good evening, I’m Snide Anderson. No relation.”

Like many early incarnations of this game, you get the sense that Greg is trying to keep everything together, rather than later versions, where the anchor would just let things roll regardless. Still, it’s great seeing him struggle as Ryan threatens him with his teeth.

Colin’s impatience, even as Greg is wrapping up Debi’s segment, is fantastic: she’s waving her arms, pointing to his watch, and trying his best not to lose it.

Then he runs through his weather report at top speed, yells ‘HAVEANICEWEEKEND’, and then darts offscreen.

Ryan going on about a hot co-anchor while Greg tries to wrap up the show reminds me of the one News Report about Adam and Eve, I believe, where Ryan, whenever he’s handed the mic, just keeps going on and on about lewd details. It’s a nice touch.

A bit frenzied, but still alright.

Moving People – Colin is a girl checking into the Bates Motel; Ryan is the receptionist.

There’s a great moment where Clive tries to coax a member of the studio audience to move people, and she whispers to him that she’s never seen the program before.
Clive: “…then why’d you come along, then? What were you expecting, something a bit funnier than this, were you?”

Colin also does his best to help Steph feel comfortable, talking her down.
Clive: “Just go and stand behind him, don’t fall for any of that chit-chat…”
Heck, Ryan even goes and says hello to her. With him, I can’t tell if he’s also trying to help ease her nerves, or if he’s doing his usual ‘go and say hello to the hot girl even if he’s not part of the scene’ schtick.

AT MOMENT ONE, Ryan and Colin start screwing with the movers. Ryan says he’ll help Colin to his room, then nothing happens, and Ryan says “you know, why rush, it’s a really hot day…”

Ryan’s mover does get the memo to have Ryan grab a bag of Colin’s on the floor.
Ryan, after a few seconds: “…Okay, I’ll just shove it along, right to your door…”

Colin makes a reference to taking a shower.
He then eyes his mover, basically saying ‘DO SOMETHING’. The guy moves Ryan’s hand thusly:
Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.51.06 PM.png

It’s like the guy played right into Ryan’s hand.

Colin, noticing Steph hasn’t really moved him that much: “You’re lucky, I almost slapped it off myself…..but I have GREAT self control!”

Then, as Ryan’s mover just keeps him with a hand in the air.
Ryan: “I’m not, I’m just waving to the neighbors. HELLO!”

Then, the movers finally get Ryan and Colin to awkwardly walk towards the room, taking hands for some reason.

Colin: “Look into my eyes and tell me that you’re not strange!”
Ryan’s mover moves Ryan’s head like a few inches from Colin’s.
Ryan: “…my GOD you’re a beautiful woman…”

As Ryan says progressively weirder things, Colin sums up the entire scene: “Oh, I want to turn away, but I CAN’T!”

The scene ends with Ryan being moved into an awkward hug with Colin as he tries to get away. It’s one of the more amusing ways to end such an insane, but funny, scene.

Hoedown: Cricket

Ah yes, four north-americans talking about Cricket. This will be fun. Even Greg starts confusedly laughing at the suggestion.

Debi’s is very Steve Frost-ian. It finishes with something that rhymes, but rhymes by default. But..again…it doesn’t bomb the game. It’s not too bad.

Of course, then we have Greg’s, done in a very posh British accent:
“I’m a cricket player. I stand upon the pitch.
I wait for the ball to come, and then I give it a switch.
When the game is over, I retire, for a beer.
…and I know what you’re thinking. And no, we’re not.”

I also really like Colin’s:
“I hate watching cricket. How do they do that play?
It seems to run, and run and run, it goes on for 50 days.
It takes so long, it takes so long, it really is a crime.
In the time it takes to play cricket, I can make love 455 times!”

Ryan, on his first line, cracks up a bit. I’m not sure why. Maybe the fact that he knows nothing about cricket.

His verse isn’t that strong, and he’s looking over at Colin at the end, going ‘what the hell else could I do?”

Still, a pretty good Hoedown, especially considering what we just had.

Overall: A definite improvement on last show, and one that sort of succeeded where the last one failed. Here, we had a guest that didn’t match up to the other two in terms of abilities, but whose improv didn’t bog the others down, and who, and I want to make this clear, REALLY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG. Debi’s appearance on a lot of the WORST OF WL lists really bogs down to her appearance as a bawdy american, but her improv was still pretty good, and she still had some funny moments. I’m not gonna say she belongs with the Paul Bird class of ‘why weren’t they brought back’, but…maybe she’s more of a Lee Simpson or a Neil Mullarkey, in that I wonder what would have happened on a second appearance.

The show was pretty good, though not to the caliber of our two big guns, the premiere and the Stephen Fry show. Obviously the Colin and Ryan duo ruled over this show, even though there was a surprising amount of ‘all four’ games, and a lot of games where Greg didn’t do much more than proctor. Some great dynamic all around, and some very interesting moments, like the audience members in Moving People being reluctant, and Clive having to work his charm there.

Show Winners: All four
Best Performer: Ryan, for some mastery yet again.
Worst Performer: Debi, simply for not being as strong as the other 3.
Best Game: Moving People. Had the most laughs.
Worst Game: Not a ton of truly BAD games. I’ll go with Weird Newscasters just for being a bit more incoherent at times.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E07, or You Made me a Wooden Hooker??

On we go with Series 9 of Whose Line, and Dan and Mark’s attempt to appeal to American audiences. Here, they managed to book one of the more prevalent sitcom stars of the 1990s, and a former Second City farmhand to boot, in George Wendt, or Norm from Cheers. Wendt was in a brief career lull in 1997, and may have been in London on leave from the set of Alice in Wonderland, which may have been filming around that time (I could be way off here). Nevertheless, he’s here, doing short form improv with Greg, Colin and Ryan, three supremely talented American regulars. This goes pretty much the way you’d think.

Intros, obviously done at the end of the show, feature George looking kinda worn out, and Ryan doing this:
Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 5.25.04 PM.png

Film and Theatre Styles – Scientist Ryan has called George to test out his time machine.

Here we get the Ryan-George playing of this. I’m kinda glad we didn’t just get ‘Ryan and Colin and then the other two’ pairings, because A.) it allows for more versatility between performers, and B.) It allowed for the F&TS in episode 16, which is a classic.

Oprah Winfrey style
Ryan, as Oprah: “…yes, you HAVE been repeating yourself.”
George: [collapses in anguish]
Ryan: “And if any of you see this type of thing at home…be sure to consult the proper authorities.”

Ryan: “Was your daddy bad to you?”
George, taking a moment to think of how dark he’s going to take this: “Yes…he repeated himself on me ALL THE TIME!”
Clive: “This is getting too disturbing.”
George shakes his head.
Clive: “Let’s do some Sesame Street to lighten the mood.”
Ryan, in a perfect Kermit the Frog voice: “…repeated himself?”

I’m getting that George is very broad in his improv, like in the martial arts style, where he just emits a 5-second long yell, in character, in an odd way. Perhaps he’s forgotten that improv shouldn’t need to be making funny faces and noises.

Clive: “Let’s go onto horror.”
Ryan: “…you’ve dropped your pants.”

This was an alright scene. It wasn’t particularly bad, and George didn’t really commit any improv sins, but his style was a bit too broad for me, especially compared to Ryan’s.

Superheroes: shortage of jelly babies
Greg: Super Ted
Ryan: Mr. Smooth
Colin: Disco Kid
George: Talks too Loud About his Personal Problems Man

Not a huge fan of Greg’s characterization, but Ryan’s is fantastic from the moment he arrives, as Mr. Smooth. Just the way he says his lines.

Colin is just as good as The Disco Kid, a character he’d definitely do again in Superheroes during the US version.

The plot-solving is a bit clumsy, as George, yelling about his hemorrhoids, somehow solves the crisis, according to Greg, without really trying. So Greg sort of solves it for him. It may have been a move because of George’s unawareness with the WL format, but it’s still a clumsy one.

Not a great Superheroes. I just didn’t love Greg in this one, maybe because he didn’t really know what else to do with his quirk.

Secret – Ryan and Colin are Geppetto and Pinocchio. The secret is hidden inside a left nostril

I will say the audience suggestion of the secret being in the left nostril is one of the more ingenious ideas we’ve had from there lately.

Ryan’s Geppetto voice is a great excuse for him to do just a goofy Italian accent, to the point where it’s very reminiscent to his accent as the chef from a few Secrets ago. He even starts making a pizza.

Again, even the way the secret is revealed, literally falling out of Colin’s nose, is original. And Ryan gets to name it this time again, being “…a javelin???” And he’s even a little stirred by it, which is a first.

Colin, dropping an accent to give the rationalization: “…whatever country we’re from has asked me to be on their olympic team.”
Ryan: “Italy, Pinocchio.”
Colin: “I wasn’t sure, with the accent and everythin-”

Ryan: “The olympics will make you a MAN, not a real boy.”
Colin: “Only if I’m on the Russian women’s swimming team, then I can be a man!”
That line would NOT fly today…

Ryan ends the scene by promising Colin that he’s gonna make him into a real boy.
Colin: “You made a wooden hooker?”
Ryan, regrouping, opens the closet and reveals it as Clive buzzes.

A very silly Secret scene, with just so many wonderful leaps in logic, and just Ryan and Colin trying to out-ridiculous each other.

Film Dub – Ryan, Colin, and Greg are on a dangerous mission.

Greg gives his character a very Steve Frost-esque throaty english accent, and lays out a map.
Ryan: “…my god, that’s a picture of my wife.”

Ryan: “Look at the ranges and the mountains and the valleys of her-”
Greg: “Yes, we’ve all had your wife, now let’s carry on…”

Ryan’s character, as he leaves to go, does a hand motion to the other person.
Ryan, without a choice: “…Heil Hitler…”

Yeah, Clive’s WL may have been more lenient with Hitler jokes than Drew’s, but at least he knew it was a good scene ender. This Film Dub was alright.

World’s Worst: Person to share a flat with

Greg, as John Major: “I used to be the leader of a small…”
Ryan, opening the shower curtain: “Let’s say we save some water…”

Ryan: “…I’ve gone to the bathroom somewhere in the house, why don’t you try to find it?”
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Ryan, as people are still recovering from that one, goes up again, carrying something: “Happy Birthday to Hitler, Happy Birthday…”

Colin: “I just finished my book: Satanic Verses.”
The audience, and Greg, really like this one. Who knew Rushdie slams were still in?

Greg and George are noticeably having a hard time with this one.
Clive: “Just do it as yourself, Greg…”
Greg “Ohhhh, you’re gonna get it now…”

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A pretty solid World’s Worst, if I’m being honest, though George only had one suggestion, and not a great one at that.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and George.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.02.15 PM.pngRyan: “WE’RE HIGH OVER WEMBLEY STADIUM…”

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.02.58 PM.pngRyan: “…I would like to thank the Academy for this award…”

Here you can at least see that George and Greg got along well; George uses both props for a ‘we’re gonna need a bigger boat, eh Quint?’ line that the audience doesn’t really get, but Greg loves.

Three of a Kind – Ryan, Colin, and Greg are TV evangelists in a laundrette.


You can tell that Greg and Ryan have a better grip on televangelism than Colin, who just sort of follows their motions after a while, but Greg and Ryan are KILLING IT, so far.

Ryan: “And yet the socks come out, and they are full of holes in the heel…HEEL…HEEL!”

Greg: “Your underwear has folded by itself. IT IS TRULY….A MIRACLE!”
Ryan and Clive start cracking here.

Ryan ends the program by having all 3 recite the Laundry Prayer together in an ‘all in one voice’ type of style, and it’s a fantastically energetic moment for all of them, and a capper on a pretty great show.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
George: Gone With the Wind in 30 Seconds
Colin: Trying out rodeo horses of various sizes
Ryan: a fly caught between two windows.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.14.08 PM.png[And I’m already gone]

Ryan and Colin are just doing great things with physicality and facial expressions, which is why it’s so painful to see George failing at a wordy prompt.

This is, however, one of those that just is fantastic when all three are just bouncing off each other. Greg looked slightly helpless, though not Tony Slattery helpless.

Greg, to Colin: “The Tory government’s not here anymore, you can stop that!”

Not a bad Party Quirks, though, like a lot of tonight’s games, it didn’t exactly take off, even with some great quirks from Ryan and Colin.

Hoedown: Space Travel

Greg’s is a fun one, about an alien set on conquering earth, with their leader, “he has no neck, he’s very bald, and his name is Clive…”

George’s…he gives up on. So he dances. Remember this. It will be important in Episode 12.

Ryan attempts one of his many tricky rhymes this series, trying to rhyme a star-trek-related line about the three-year tour with ‘sleeping with Uhur’.

Not a great Hoedown, but not without its moments.

Overall: Yeah…not a great show. Somehow, it wasn’t JUST George Wendt’s presence that kept things down a few pegs. A lot of games never really hit their stride, and even Greg sort of made some faux-pas throughout the night. And it’s not that George didn’t try, as he clearly did his best to fit in with the pact, but seeing as Ryan was KILLING IT tonight, and that these were some of the best traditional improvisers in the business at the time, a professional actor like George could only do so much. I don’t think he belongs in the list of ‘worst WL-ers ever’, like Ardal O’Hanlon, Jan Ravens, and…someone I’ll be covering next episode are, but he clearly wasn’t a great fit for the program. Maybe if he’d been on in an earlier run of the show, it wouldn’t have stuck out as much.

Show Winner: George
Best Performer: Ryan, for dominating, adding to the S4-esque quality of this show.
Worst Performer: George, for not really fitting well with the other 3.
Best Game: Secret, for using silliness as its best tool. World’s Worst is a close second.
Worst Game: Superheroes. Just really limp tonight.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E06, or Shouldn’t You Read Him His Rights or Something?

Our second straight Steve Frost episode, this time paired with this series’ new rising star Brad Sherwood. The Brad-Steve-Colin-Ryan teaming would appear in two tapings and five episodes, tied with the Steve-Colin-Ryan-Tony matchup for most of this show.

In introducing Ryan, Clive says “and for his nine-hundredth consecutive appearance on this show…comedian, actor, and the producer’s brother, RYAN STILES!”

Superheroes: Acid rain!
Colin: Captain Buttocks Promiscuous Man
Ryan: Can’t Move Without Hurting Himself Boy
Brad: Hilarious Punchlines Boy
Steve: Professor Hugs-Too-Hard

Clive gets Colin’s superhero name from combining the two best suggestions. Colin, from his initial reaction, LOVES THIS:
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Clive: “It’s interesting that two separate sections of the audience have met you before…”

Clive asks for the global problem:
Audience member: “Lots of hairpieces!”
Colin then begins to walk angrily towards the audience, and Ryan has to hold him back. This is very Captain Hair-esque

Clive: “ACID RAIN! Now that’s a real, sensible suggestion. Not funny, mind, but a real…”

Colin does some great physicality with huge buttocks, but finally gets the crisis of acid rain: “I hope it hits that woman who suggested ‘missing hairpieces'”

Ryan, stoner voice: “I’m sorry I’m late, captain Buttocks, I got caught in an acid showerrrr…”

I will say…’Professor Hugs-Too-Hard’ is the single most Brad Sherwood suggestion out there. Of course, Steve delivers, picking up Brad and twirling him around. And then he hugs Ryan and Ryan screams in pain.

There’s a great moment of applause, when Ryan’s screaming out in pain, Steve’s got done with hugging Colin and Colin is smiling. It’s a wonderful group moment.

Steve comes up with a brilliant, complicated suggestion, hugs Brad one more time, and then leaves.
Brad: “Huh, you should have seen the other guy…”

Ryan, as he exits, makes another loud, wincing noise every time he takes a step. And he even makes one once he’s offstage.

A perfectly fine Superheroes, with some great moments of teamwork, and Colin just owning his quirk.

Song Styles: Brad sings a love song to Anna, a nurse.

Brad, as usual, brings a lot of vocal panache to this one, and some great lyrical work:
“Anna, I will be your man
If you just do my prostate exam”

Beautiful song, too, as Brad can hold long notes, and make it heartfelt, while immediately going back to a joke:
“I’m dying…of this disease
Called love.
Grab your rubber glove.
Give your thumb a shove.”

One of the best Song Styles rounds we’ve had in a long time. The audience is absolutely wild about this one, too.

Secret: Ryan and Colin are two frisky geriatrics in an old people’s home; the secret is hidden in the commode.

Colin: “I got a date tonight!”
Ryan: “A date….you goin’ out for puddin?”
[I love how he says that line]

Ryan: “How’d you get a date with her?”
Colin: “Just…took out my teeth and did an impression of the chunnel…”

Ryan gets to name the Secret this time, and he at least picks a good, if pedestrian compared to Colin’s, reveal: “…Elvis trading cards?”
And this time, COLIN is the one to take a few beats to recover. He cracks for a brief second, too…
Colin, stalling: “…I guess you wanna know what they were doing there…”
Ryan: “I SURE DO…”

Colin eventually figures it out: “…can you keep a secret?”
Colin: “…there’s only two of us in here…”:
Colin: “….I’m Elvis.”

Ryan: “Waaait a minute [checking trading card] what’s your favorite food?”
Colin: “…hamburgers deep fried in batter.”
And then, Colin does a fantastic physical Elvis impression, before wincing, hurting a hip. Wincing easily seems to be a theme of this show.

Colin proclaims he lost his voice. “I can’t sing anymore.”
Ryan, with another great read: “ohhhhhhh I bet ya could…LOOK BACK TO THOSE DAYS, ELVIS…”
Colin, knowing what Ryan’s setting him up for, cracks a bit.
Ryan: “Priscilla still looks good! I bet she’d come back to ya if she could hear ya sing again.”

And then, Ryan pulls a fast one: “BUT NOT ANY OF YOUR OLD HITS.”
[internally, he just goes ‘dammit Ryan…’]

As Ryan coaxes Colin into singing one of his lost songs, he goes “here…I’ll play the maracas for ya.” And takes out his teeth. This is genius.

Then, Colin gets the ground back by proclaiming he’s gonna do a song entirely in German, an old Hoedown trick for when he had no idea what to sing. Clive knows what’s coming.
Colin, getting into this song: “….Och-”
Ryan: “OH!”
Colin: “Och-”
Ryan: “OH!”
Colin, perfect Elvis voice: “….LIEBERLIEBERLIEBERLIEBER…”

SUCH A GOOD SECRET SCENE. That scene grew legs on its own, and just became a wonderful long-form-y Colin-Ryan scene. One of my favorite Secrets thus far.

Addicts Anonymous: Brad runs a self-help group for the other three, who are all addicted to game shows.

Brad, entering: “Sorry, I’m late, I-”
Ryan: [buzzes]
Brad, sighing, takes away his podium. Already a great start.

Steve, who I was worried would be a bit behind Ryan and Colin in terms of exposure to game shows, nails this, shaking hands, and being very giggly throughout.

Brad does a great job as the straight-man proctor here: “There are only three of ya, and we’re not narrowing it down to one! Remember that!”

Brad, to Colin: “How’ve you felt this week-”
Colin: “I’ve felt fine [turns to camera] My name is Jim Peters, I’m an accountant.”

Colin: I’m up to step three but it’s just not working!”
Brad: “Ooh, that’s the bonus round! Keep going!”

Ryan: “small.”
Colin: “What does he win for that?”
Ryan: “NOTHING! There’s nothing to win for the real world, remember that!”
Steve: “There isn’t, but I think these chairs are worth 3000 pounds for the three!”

Colin sets up Brad to have him remember the group’s motto. Brad spins it back and says they should all do it together.

A very fun, if light at some points, game.

Sports Commentators – Brad and Steve commentate on Ryan and Colin, two hunks setting up on the beach.

This one, as usual, takes a bit to get going, but once Colin sticks an umbrella pole up Ryan’s ass, things really get going.

The ‘slow motion replay’ of the wet towel slap is great, because you see so much more emotion on Colin’s face.

Again, I don’t love this game, and I think it’s fairly straightforward, but this one had some nice moments.

Film Dub: Steve and Ryan are on an expedition.

Steve, as he heads down the World’s Worst step, stumbles a little, and facepalms as he regains his footing, and realizes they’re gonna use that take.

This is a silly enough scene- Ryan and Steve calling someone and asking where the map is, when it’s literally on the wall behind them.

Steve has a great moment where he takes the pauses as his character does, and makes it sound really odd: “It’s up….to me……and you…..to decide…..whether we……..SHOULD GO!”

And the scene ends with them finding the map, and Steve exclaiming “WHAT’S THIS???”

A fairly straightforward and silly scene, but not without its moments.

Animals – Ryan and Colin are two gazelles who are hiding illegal substances, Brad is the lion cop who catches them.

This is a great excuse for Ryan to bring back his gazelle impression, but Colin’s just as good, as both are looking around, turning their heads at the same time. Then finally:
Ryan: “….ya got the grass?”

Colin and Ryan have a great conversation about Ryan eating the grass instead of smoking it, but Brad eventually bounds in and improves the scene.

And yes, Brad slowly pursuing Ryan and Colin as they do the gazelle run is fantastic to watch.

Brad as the lion cop is fantastic, with a very different growly voice. He also kills Colin out of nowhere.
Ryan, as caught off-guard as I was: “Whooooa, shouldn’t you read him his rights or something?”

Pretty great scene, and honestly it could have gone on a bit longer.

Weird Newscaster – Brad is the anchor,
Colin (is having a breakdown because he used to be the sole newscaster) is the co-anchor,
the weatherman is Ryan (is being distracted by a couple making love in front of him),
and the sportscaster is Steve (a rowdy football fan).

Just the opening visual alone is hysterical:
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Colin’s demeanor as Brad cheerily speeds along is wonderful (“…I wish I had a GUN!”), and Steve, chiming in every now and then, is fantastic.

Steve: “…today, in the preseason warmup-CHELLESEEEAAA…”

After a bit of that, Steve picks up his stool and starts flailing it around, slamming it on the ground. By far his best performance of the show.

If you’ve ever seen the Eyewitness News portion of Kentucky Fried Movie, you know what to expect from at least the first part of Ryan’s quirk.

Yes, the more Ryan sees, the more aroused Ryan gets.

Overall: A very middle of the road show. There were highlights (Superheroes, Secret, Animals), and some very okay games (Sports Commentators, Film Dub), and just a generally alright feel. There were a ton of great improv decisions, and not all of them led to funny moments. Everyone had good and bad moments, and surprisingly Steve had a few more standout moments than I expect, although Brad did run away with the show, thanks to great performances in Song Styles and Animals.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Brad, for having another dominant show.
Worst Performer: Ryan, solely for not having as many standout performances as the other three, but he was still alright.
Best Game: Secret. Just phenomenal.
Worst Game: Sports Commentators. Just another weak round of this.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E05, or THE EMOTIONAL HOLES!

Captain, the Stephen Fry episode might be too British for American audiences!

And so, we’re up to two straight appearances of Frost and his Hawaiian shirts, paired with a different American each time. Tonight, he’s paired with Greg Proops. That will be fun.

Clive’s intros are classic:
“As described by Dr. Spooner, the Shining wit of Greg Proops
then, as described by the Good Sex Guide, the extremely quick Stephen Frost
then as described by an Alien’s Guide to the Universe, one of us, it’s Colin Mochrie”
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“and as described by someone who’s never seen him, the fantastically talented Ryan Stiles!”

Superheroes: Pants are Getting Too Small
Greg: Captain Caterpillar
Ryan: Cat Cleaning Himself Man
Colin: Nude and Proud of it Boy
Steve: Nipple Tweak Boy

The second of two unbelievable instances of Greg-Clive banter this series.

Greg, as Clive explains the game, is goofing around, doing a Superman pose and trying to fly
Clive, seeing this out the corner of his eye: “…okay, you’re AUDITIONING for this role now…”

Someone shouts out ‘USELESS MAN’, but Clive goes with Caterpillar man: “Caterpillar man gives him more to play with, because Useless Man is…kinda what he is.”
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Audience member: “Pants are too small!”
Clive, to Greg: “Funny thing- have we done that already?”
Greg, still hurt: “If we have, I’m sure it was fraught with hilarity…”

Greg, immediately pre-scene: “Which one am I?”
Clive: “You’re Captain Caterpillar. But you can bring elements of Captain Useless as well, if you want.”
Greg, gearing up: “Listen, I’ll be Captain Caterpillar, and you can just sit there and be Captain Useless like usual.”
Clive, after that doesn’t get a ton of response: “…oh, YOU’RE winning tonight, as I can see..”

Greg, as Clive’s still going on, realizing what hasn’t happened yet: “Isn’t it about time you make some sort of inappropriate American reference or something?”
Clive: “…Not yet, you do the show.”
Greg: “Thanks.”
Clive: “…ya yank…”
Greg, STILL WANTING TO GO: “I can take a few hits if you want-”
Clive, realizing how far this has gone on, and completely done: “GET ON WITH IT GREG!!!”

All this, and the game hasn’t even started yet. Whoa. Greg, immediately before he starts improvising, realizes what just happened, and emits a little Muttley laugh.

Ryan, as Cat Cleaning Himself Man, coughs up a hairball
Greg: “Oh, good, I can live in that later…”

Colin, as nude and proud of it boy, is fantastic. He just starts pelvic thrusting stonefaced, like it’s nothing.
Greg: “Well, I wouldn’t be THAT proud of it if I was you.”
Clive chuckles at this.
Greg, reexplaining the crisis: “Everyone’s underpants are too tight, except for YOURS of course.”

And Steve as Nipple Tweak Boy…hysterical. Poor Colin, though; I bet he expected Steve would tweak someone else first, but he is Nude and Proud of It Boy.

Then, Steve goes to Ryan’s, and smirkingly goes “OOH, LOOK, I’M TWEAKING A PUSSY!”
The audience, rightfully, dies at this.
Greg, as he re-explains the crisis, cracks completely. Steve is completely gone, though, whispering to Greg something like ‘that’s not getting on’
Greg, knowing how the censors work: “You can say ‘pussy’ if you’d like…”

Steve leaves before he can do a solution, but Colin thankfully comes up with one, a rather extensive one. Greg breathes a sigh of relief.

A pretty good round: its banter and teamwork elevates it, but Steve forgot to do a solution, and Greg was mostly just moving the scene forward.

Film and Theatre Styles: Steve and Greg (mechanic and Top Gun pilot)

Again, I’m glad we’re seeing this game with more than the usual Ryan-Colin combo.

Clive: “…there’s ALWAYS SOMEBODY who says ‘Swedish porn movie’.

This game starts like a round of Old Job New Job, where Steve acts like a regular, London car mechanic, giving him a three day estimate with a lot of terminology. The contrast definitely works.

Greg, saying why he needs the plane now: “There’s things I’ve gotta shoot down! There’s bad turns I’ve got to make! There’s chicks I’ve got to sleep with after!”

Hospital Drama style, Greg hands Steve the spanner, then Steve reprimands him, and tells him to give more force angrily….drops it, and then says, tenderly, ‘like you did last night’. It’s, again, a fantastic contrast
Greg: “You know, when I’m holding you like this, I don’t want to let go. I want to heal you. I want to take all the holes in you and seal them over.”
Steve: [breaks]
Greg, as the audience gets the wrong idea, TURNS TO CAMERA: “…THE EMOTIONAL HOLES.”
And I’m gone. Steve’s looking to Ryan and Colin for help.
Clive: ‘…it conjured up such a picture.”
Greg: “THIS IS A HOSPITAL DRAMA, NOT A SWEDISH PORN FILM. Get your minds out of the gutter.”
Clive: “SWE-”
Clive, quite obviously: “Swedish Porn Movie.”

Greg, immediately: “Oh, I’ve dropped de Span-ner…”

Greg ends this portion by looking around at Steve’s butt.
Steve, cracking: “I’ve got a lovely undercarriage, haven’t I?”
Greg: “You’re right, the light DOES stay on when you bend over.”
Steve: [bends over laughing]

Clive: “Beavis and Butthead”
Greg: [chuckling, pointing at Steve’s butt]

Clive: “Hammer Horror”
Greg: “Yes. I saw your crack.”

Greg’s posh English accent is fantastic, telling Steve he’s going to leave: “You can try to frighten me all you’d like, with your bizarre accent and tufty eyebrows.”

Pride and Prejudice
Greg: “Can’t you see I’m in love with you? I haven’t said anything for 35 years because I’m English and can’t express my emotions.”

The scene ends with Greg embracing Steve, asking him to ‘shoot me with your oil gun’, and Steve giving a gruff ‘GOOD GOD.’ As do we all.

A delightfully out of bounds scene. I don’t envy Steve in that scene, as I would have been cracking up throughout as well, but he did do a nice job of returning the favor in terms of improv, though Greg did a lot of the heavy lifting. It did feel like a fleshed-out, semi-plot-reliant F&TS, like the older series’.

Weird Newscasters – Greg is the anchor, Ryan (thinks he’s back in ‘Nam) is the coanchor, Colin (recently broke up with Greg) is the weatherman, and Steve (a compulsive gambler) is the ‘financial correspondant’.

Ah yes, the old setup, where Colin did weather and Ryan was co-anchor. They’d figure this out by S10.

Ryan: “There’s a big…pile-up on the freeway. Did you see it, Greg?”
Greg: “…well…no…”
Ryan: “You didn’t see it because YOU WEREN’T THEEEERE, MAAANNN…”

Ryan’s embittered Nam vet is fantastic, because…to be honest, that’s one of the better characters he plays. Either embittered Nam vet or embittered ex-husband.

Greg, handing off to Colin: “Sheila, looks like a fabulous weekend brewing.”

This wasn’t the greatest WN, but the game really took off when all four were acting on each other, or, rather, all three were acting on Greg. Towards the end, Colin was clinging to Greg, Steve won a bet, and Ryan was trying to carry Greg out. It was a fantastic combination of moments, which is a shame, as their alone bits weren’t as good.

Moving People – Ryan and Colin are two high-tech thieves stealing a famous painting from a gallery.

Lorna, the second audience member, gets behind Colin, but the other one is already there, so Clive directs her over to Ryan…who, noticing her looks, proceeds to take her offset by the arm.
Clive: “It’s not a social event, it’s just…”

Ryan already seems befuddled by the speed at which Lorna moves him, chuckling through a few line reads, like “…tell me…d’you like my new outfit?”

Colin: “We’re gonna have to crawl under the laser beams!”
Ryan, who’s been bent completely over: “…I’ve already started, Gary…”

There’s a surprising amount of character that Ryan and Colin add here, about Ryan’s past as a professional limbo-er.
Colin: “You’re right, I guess I’m going to hang my head in shame.”
The audience member doesn’t get this prompt, and moves his legs
Colin: “…but first i’ll move over here…”

Ryan realizes that what Lorna’s about to do is going to end badly, and cracks up, as his knees give out and he crashes to the floor.

Then…Lorna does this:
Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 1.30.52 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-05 at 1.31.04 PM.png
IMMEDIATELY Lorna backs away and cracks up, and Ryan does his ‘losing it while staying still’ face from Dead Bodies
Colin: “NO!”
Ryan: “…GOD you’ve got a tight little ass!”

Ryan, as he’s still there: “…WAIT…we can hide the painting in the cheeks of your ass!”

The audience member FINALLY moves Ryan, and raises him up to Colin’s chest.
Ryan: ‘…but first, let me feed for a while.”
BUZZ. Both audience members lose it. As does the audience.

DEAR GOD. Another insanely funny game, made even funnier by the ineptitude of Lorna as a mover, and just how Ryan reacted to being moved. Too damn funny.

Props: Ryan and Colin vs. Greg and Steve

Ah yes, the infamous Chicken Toss props round.

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 1.35.03 PM.pngColin: “…if only the doves had seen that steamroller…”


Greg has an extended bit as ‘King of the Bin People’, looking out to the audience and commanding recognition, as Clive buzzes repeatedly

Then, Greg grabs Colin’s prop, and sets up the ‘Chicken Toss’, throwing Colin’s prop at Steve’s bin prop, and missing.
Clive: “Hang on, you’ve broken into their props!”
Then, Ryan, catching on, uses HIS prop suggestion to keep Greg’s going, and makes it in. Everyone cheers. Hooray for unity!

Again, a pretty fun Props round, as Ryan and Colin’s suggestions were the weirder, and funnier, of the bunch.

Party Quirks: Greg hosts
Steve: prisoner on a rooftop protest
Colin: has a stomach full of fireworks
Ryan: someone’s holiday photos

Steve, immediately: “I’m not coming down til we get better food than that” [pointing to Greg’s table]

Colin’s physicality is great here, even launching a firework out of his butt
Greg: “Colin, please, I just had the place decorated!”

Clive essentially gives Greg Ryan’s, and it’s a smaller, weaker PQ playing, but it’s definitely got charm to it.

Sports Commentators: Steve and Greg comment on Ryan and Colin, rival businessmen on a plane next to each other

This one’s, like most playings of this game, hit or miss, but it has some moments: Ryan farting in the oxygen mask, and shoving it in Colin’s face; Colin responding by inflating the life-vest inside Ryan, with Ryan doing great physicality there; The super-slow-mo recap of the last bit, with Ryan’s look of absolute terror.

Again, amusing enough, but this game never completely works for me.

Hoedown: Weddings

Clive: “…Weddings? Weddings make you sick? How many have you had?”

Clive: “And we start with you, Steve, as we can tell by the panic-stricken look on your face…”

Steve: “My brother got married…his name is, er, Gromit
And when he walked down the aisle, I began to vomit!”
Unfortunately, he screws up the punchline, and shrugs to Clive. He motions to Greg, still standing still, who then breaks.
Greg: “Is that it, then?”

Greg talks of loving marriages, but then growing tired of it after a few years: “it made me really sick, because my name is Lady Di.”
Of course, the topical reference…what, a month before the tragedy?

Colin, before he starts, looks over shrewdly at Greg, before starting, in his usual yell-singing:
Fantastic. Greg dances jovially at this.

The credit reading is great, as it features Ryan in his usual french babbling, which is always welcome.

Overall: I was surprised by this one. I mean, quality wise it was all over the place, with some great games and some empty ones, but…I wasn’t expecting this one to be THIS GOOD. Everybody knows Superheroes for the banter, and Props for the Chicken Toss, Film and Theatre Styles was electric, Moving People was pants-wettingly funny, and they even got a nice Hoedown out of the proceedings. Yes, Steve still brings up the rear of this group, but he’s still very funny, and had great moments throughout, but this was still the Americans’ show: Greg was great at keeping games going, and had a few over-exposure-y moments tonight (as is apparently custom this series), Colin was great throughout, and Ryan had the most standout moments, especially after Moving People.

Show Winners: Ryan and Colin
Best Performer: Ryan. He barely edges out the other two North Americans, but he still was solid throughout
Worst Performer: Steve. Just had the most faux-pas on the night
Best Game: Moving People. As much as I love Film and Theatre Styles, Moving People made me laugh HARD. And there was so much effort put in.
Worst Game: Sports Commentators. Not a lot to this one.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E04, or Bernstein, there could be a musical in this…

At this point in Series 9, directed solely towards American audiences, we come across something…Quite Interesting indeed.

As I said before, every episode of Series 9 only features one or less UK performer, and usually someone like Steve Frost, Rory Bremner or Josie Lawrence, pre-established repertory players who can let the Americans do the heavy lifting. Except for this one. Episode 4. Josie Lawrence is here, but…so is someone who hasn’t appeared since Series 1 of the show, and knows a vastly different Whose Line than the one he’s about to guest on. And that is Stephen Fry.

Yeah. Dan and Mark thought that an episode featuring the SINGLE MOST BRITISH PERSON on the planet would help the appeal on Comedy Central. Now, granted…in 1997, Stephen Fry was semi-relevant in America, having appeared in the 1994 Meg Ryan rom-com IQ (with an American accent, no less), as well as starring in that year’s stateside Oscar-bait-y film…about a guy named Oscar (’97’s ‘Wilde’). I can only imagine people in the US knew who Stephen Fry was in 1997, but…were these people watching Comedy Central? Were these people watching Whose Line?

So, this episode is one of the last two legitimately mix UK dynamic and US dynamic; Stephen and Josie did scenes together back in the day, and are STILL very friendly; Ryan and Colin are the strongest duo the show’s ever seen. And they’re about to, essentially, do battle.

People in the audience are cheering loudly after intros, and Clive remarks: “Well, we’ve got a very lively audience tonight…for a very dull set of improvisers-”

Questions Only: All four are in Rome

Because, with Stephen Fry on the bill, of course they are.

Stephen flocks to the step for the top of the game, only for Clive to inform him that he’s starting.
Josie: “Come on, darling-”
Stephen: “Oh, I’m terribly sorry-”
Clive: “You’ve been away too long, I see..”

Stephen, of course, starts his scene speaking in Latin.
Josie, eventually: “Are you talking Latin or just taking the piss?”

Stephen also rolls out an unbleeped ‘FUCK’ on his first buzz-out of the day. It’s hidden under the buzz, but…at this specific taping, there’d be a less-hidden expletive, courtesy of Stephen, which we’ll get to. Two, even.

Ryan: “Did you order a pizza?”
Ryan, with an underrated line: “What did you order?”
Colin: “Don’t you have some grapes?”
Ryan: “…can you handle pepperoni?”
Colin: “What’s a pepperoni?”
Ryan: “……I DON’T KN-”

Josie: “Would you like a statue erected to you?” [eyebrow raise]
Ryan: “…what do you mean by erected?”

This scene is very silly, and not taken seriously by the performers, so when Colin comes down and asks Ryan “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY FAMILY”, it’s the kind of jarring turn that gets Clive laughing immediately.
Ryan: “That was YOUR family?”

After Clive buzzes both our, Josie asks Stephen: “Are you going to the Parthenon tonight?”
Stephen then has a conundrum. He KNOWS the Parthenon is not in Rome. The Parthenon is in Athens. Because THEY SAY OF THE ACROPOLIS WHERE THE PARTHENON IS…you know the rest. But he’s conflicted, because he can either ‘yes-and’ Josie’s question, or he can say, with reality, that the Parthenon is actually in Athens. And that’s what he goes with, after a second, as Clive has already buzzed out Stephen for taking too long.
Stephen: “Couldn’t you explain that the Parthenon’s in Athens?”
And Stephen leaves, as Josie cringes onstage.

Josie, to Ryan now: “IS the Parthenon in Athens?”
Ryan, deadpan: “Would you like to buy a map?”

A really energetic QO round, even if Stephen took a bit of a learning curve, Josie forgot where the Parthenon was (and who she was talking to), and the scenes only really went back-and-forth when Colin and Ryan were up together.

Film and Theatre Styles: Josie and Stephen (hijacker and pilot)

Thank god, we see Stephen and Josie play this. No offense to Ryan and Colin, but they’ve gotten enough duo showcases lately.

Clive, fielding suggestions: “BILL AND BEN? CAN WE JUST UP THE ANTE A BIT HERE?”
Audience member: “Prisoner in Cell Block 8”
Clive: “Yes, an intellectual, thank goodness for that…”

I have a feeling that Stephen knew about the ‘twist’ from the getgo, as he has this confused expression as Josie enters, wanting to have a look at the ‘cock pit’, before finally going “…well, alright.” He had to have known what he was doing.

Stephen, “please, sit down on the, uhm-”
Josie: “On the-”
Stephen: “Yes, on the co-pilot there…”

Josie finally pulls up a gun, and threatens to shoot Stephen if he doesn’t take her to Cuba.
Stephen: “…..you know this is a simulator, don’t you?”
AND THAT’S PERFECT. The audience even applauds this.

Prisoner in Cell Block 8
Stephen: “That’s alright, everybody’s gotta have a first time, and usually I’m the bitch that gives it to ’em…”

Stephen’s Aussie accent in this is pretty damn great, especially his calculated pauses in his sentences, ending in “and THEN come to me and allow me to insert STRANGE things inSIDE ya.”

Clive: “Bill and Ben”
Stephen: [breaks]
Josie: [says a bit in Flobidob]
Stephen: “Oh, I was thinking of Bill Clinton and Tony Benn, I’m sorry”

At the start of World War II movie, he forgets who he is in the scene, and that he’s not the hijacker, so he continues flying the plane, now a war-style plane. It’s funny that he started this show as the competent scene partner, and now HE’S the Peter Cook.

Josie does a very nice proper accent while Stephen has goggle-hands and is doing the plane noise.
Josie, after a bit too much of this: “…will you PLEASE stop going off?”
Stephen: “I’m sorry, it’s the damn Gestapo, they fixed my fingers to my eyes”

Clive: “American soap opera, DIN-asty, Dynasty sort of thing”
Stephen: ‘Which?”
[the audience laughs at this]
Stephen: “I do a ‘DINasty, and I do a Dynasty!”
Clive: “Do both, and we’ll try to tell, Stephen…”
Stephen: “Alright, you have to say which one, whether Dynasty or DINasty-”
Clive: “DINasty”
Stephen: “…right.”
Stephen: “…that’s the one I can’t do…”

Stephen and Josie’s American accents are surprisingly great. Josie’s taking several breaths between words, and doing a GREAT soap opera performance.

Stephen, in order to properly throttle Josie, takes the stuffing out of her shoulders (or bra, I dunno), and yells “YOU’RE A COLBY, GODDAMMIT!”, the big cut-to-commercial line. And, fittingly, Clive buzzes.

A very funny round, even if, like late-era Tony and Paul rounds, it didn’t always stay in the realm of improv. Josie was fantastic, though.

Sound Effects: Colin looks for thrills at the fairground, Ryan does the SFX

Ryan starts by doing a tired, trumpety circus theme from afar. Already off to a nice start.

Colin has a great character trait here: he gets to the shooting range, fires, there’s a slight pop, and Colin looks around, disappointed. He’s an adrenaline junkie, he wanted a louder bang. He tries another one, same pop. He gets to a third. LOUD BANG. He smiles.

After the third bang, he looks over in fear. That is ALL it takes to show what happened. It’s masterful.

This one also has the visual of Colin grabbing an elephant by the trunk and throwing it off into the distance….only for it to land on someone else.

Then, of course, Colin going on a roller coaster. He absolutely NAILS the physicality, and the panicked expression the further and further up he goes.

A weaker ending, but still a very fun SFX round. Stephen was getting a kick out of it in the back.

Number of Words: Romeo and Juliet
Ryan: Romeo (3 words)
Josie: Juliet (4 words)
Colin: Juliet’s mother (2 words)
Stephen: Juliet’s father (6 words)

Again, note the classy scene description for Stephen

The scene is great from the getgo, and surprisingly dramatic. Stephen, though, is counting on his fingers, as he reprimands Josie: “ONCE! A! CAPULET! ALWAYS! A! CAPULET!”
Josie, as the applause for that dies down: “Ow, my right boob!”
Ryan: “My favorite one!”

Colin, entering: “WHAT THE.”
That’s literally all you need in this game.

Ryan, bringing back his Agatha Christie voice from S7: “I…..love…….Juliet”

As Stephen has more trouble counting
Stephen, finding an easy out: “…Kill yourself? Kill yourself? KILL YOURSELF?”

As Ryan and Josie ready the poison
Absolutely genius.
Stephen: “:ONE….TWO….THREE…”
Josie drinks the poison
Stephen: “….Oh my god.”

Josie, at a quiet moment: “….I feel like shit.”

Then, as Josie’s dying, Stephen, forgetting what game he’s in, calls out to someone offscreen “BERNSTEIN, there could be a musical in this!”

An extraordinarily silly scene: Ryan, Juliet and Colin had a firm grasp of the source material, and translated it well to the game. Stephen was just having fun. And I don’t blame him. As a true Shakespeare scholar, he must know that deep down, Romeo and Juliet isn’t a great play, so maybe he’s more familiar with the histories. I dunno, that’s my next QI to watch.

Props: Colin and Ryan vs. Josie and Stephen

Stephen, holding the prop, really a big pool noodle: “Uh, Miss Street-Porter, your floss has arrived!”
And they thought THAT would go over with the American audiences? If people barely knew who Stephen was over here, they most certainly didn’t know who Janet Street-Porter was.

Ryan uses the prop as a pterodactyl wings, as Colin just does his dinosaur impression, which certainly cracks up Clive.

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 9.47.07 PM.pngColin: “….Santa, we’re going on strike.”
Ryan, kinda amazed: “WHAT??”

Let’s Make a Date: Josie guesses
Stephen: a trendy vicar
Colin: Hates everything English
Ryan: eating a tremendously hot curry

A classic.

Josie: “Number One?”
Stephen, immediately: ‘Dick, call me Dick.”

Stephen, on what he’d invent: “I’d, uh invent…a kind of sharing…a sort of…outreach, if you like…MOST PEOPLE DON’T….a kind of sharing outreach…I think is what we really need, don’t you?”
Absolutely perfect. Stephen’s real-world detesting of religion certainly aides this.


Ryan nails this. Just by how agape his mouth is. And then his stomach starts rumbling, and he has this look of absolute panic.

Josie, already knowing exactly who Stephen is: “Could you explain to me a bit about the current book you’re reading, and why you like it?”
Stephen: “…The book I’m reading is a book I always read…at the moment, uh…I’ve got quite far into it, I don’t want to give much away…but it’s about a friend of mine, and I think someone who could become a friend of yours…he’s a sharing kinda guy. IN A LOT OF WAYS HE’S A BIT LIKE A GANGSTA RAPPER IN A STRANGE WAY…he’s out there ON THE STREETS…WITH THE KIDS……SHOOTING UP…but he shoots up with love!”
Josie: “Aww, that’s nice.”
Stephen, ascending in pitch: ‘Yep…YEP…*YEP*”

Colin: “Everyone drinks tea in those books. WHAT IS IT WITH TEA? I’VE PASSED STRONGER URINE SAMPLES THAN THAT!”

Josie, guessing: “I think Colin’s just bein’ himself…”

Josie: “And, uh, Ryan’s just eaten something very hot and pooed himself?”
Ryan: [grimaces]
Clive: “That’s it!”
Ryan, heading back to the seats: “I POOED MYSELF?”

A very strong game; obviously I loved Stephen’s quirk, but everyone had really nice moments.

Newsflash: Josie and Ryan in the studio, Stephen in the field, in front of a King Kong movie

Stephen as the centerpiece of this game does make me a bit nervous, knowing how Rory did.

Stephen’s surprisingly a natural at this game, but the audience is mostly just laughing at the ridiculousness of the King Kong film behind him.

Ryan: “Stephen, we’re worried about your safety, do you think you’re too close?”
Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.00.28 PM.png
“…I don’t feel too close…”
Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.00.35 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.01.05 PM.png
Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Josie: “Is the man in the hand frightened?”
Stephen: “….is the MAN…IN the HAND…FRIGHTENED?”
Of course, at that point, the footage has him directly in the footpath of Kong, so Ryan and Josie start panicking again.

Ryan: “Stephen, do you have any form of protection with you?”
Stephen: “I’m afraid I don’t…I just have a BBC press pass…do you think that’ll help?”

Stephen guesses correctly, but after Clive kids him for ‘monkeying around’. Perfectly fine playing, and with a ton of really convenient moments of Stephen being in the right frame of shot at the right time.

Hoedown: Marital Problems

Screen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.05.33 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.05.45 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-08-04 at 10.06.08 PM.pngPoor Stephen.

Josie’s is kinda forgettable, and then we get to Stephen. If you’ve seen his Raps, you know how much he’s dreading this. He even looks at Richard, and applauds him for keeping on as Stephen stalls.

Stephen, finally, not in time: “Music and sex are very similar to me….I just can’t…make them.
Whatever I do, or whenever I try to, I always find that the best way is to fake them.
I’ve been to that, uh, Anne Somers shop, I’ve been in every branch…
But the only way I can REALLY get it off is, with, uh, Richard Vranch.”
HA. AND RICHARD GETS A KICK OUT OF THIS. Fantastic moment from Stephen.

Colin sings as a whale who keeps talking about old boyfriends, finishing with “well, how the hell can I compare to a guy named Moby Dick?” Very clever.

And Ryan’s is clever, but forgettable.

OVERALL: This show had no right to be this good. And yet…all four were on, every game was funny,  and despite contrasting GREATLY with the Comedy Central audience expectation, it may have been the last breath of old Whose Line coming to save the show one last time. Stephen Fry, despite his moments of befuddlement, was wonderful here; sure, he wasn’t at ‘womp some skull on that, bitch’ levels, but he was enjoying himself, and worked well with all three. Josie was her jovial self, and brought out the best in everyone. Ryan and Colin stuck mostly to the background, but were great in scenes; Ryan mastered games early on, and Colin had some late victories. There were several classic games here, and just a surreal-but-fantastic mood throughout. An unlikely pick for ‘best of the series’, but still a valid one.

Show Winner: Stephen
Best Performer: ….yeah, I’m going with Stephen Fry. He was a LAWFUL improviser, and he was a FUNNY improviser, and he meshed so well with the other three. This is how a master returns to his craft.
Worst Performer: I’m only going with Josie because she didn’t have as many standout moments.
Best Game: Let’s Make a Date. Just had the best moments from all four.
Worst Game: Hoedown was the most uneven, but Stephen and Colin save it.

Whose Watchdown is it Anyway: S09E03, or Clive, What Are You Doing in My Closet?

As I said before, when Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson scoured their rolodexes for American talent, they look to new places, but they also looked for old contacts, anybody who wanted to come back and re-Americanize the show. Tonight, we see two people that haven’t appeared on the show in a while. For one, his improv career would be invigorated. For the other…it’d be less than that.

Brad Sherwood’s last appearance was the US run of Series 4, working predominantly with Ryan and Greg, and…surprisingly only briefly working with his future comedy partner Colin Mochrie (yes, in case you didn’t know, Colin and Brad tour together as a double improv act. I’ve seen them live. They’re wonderful, and super nice.) Bringing him back was an inspired, but understandable choice; Brad’s two episodes weren’t exactly fraught with bad improv choices, and his return was only delayed by a desire to return to predominantly british performers. Brad would be back for SEVERAL shows this season, typically being paired with Steve Frost.

If Brad’s return was gracious and welcome, Mike McShane’s return was seriously unlikely, as he still felt scorn and betrayal after being told by the producers that the American audiences wouldn’t enjoy seeing a man of Mike’s stature doing improv. He also hated how they threw Tony under the rug. So, his return, a short-lived, single-appearance gig, would be under less than favorable circumstances. The jovial, high-energy Mike wouldn’t always appear during this episode.

Okay, that’s enough setup. Brad, Mike, Colin, Ryan. Together, at last. On with the show:

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 6.56.35 PM.pngThis…is not the Mike we’re used to. Less hair, greyer hairs, and a very determined death stare…and this is top, or, well, bottom, of the show.

Clive describes Brad as somebody who’s becoming a new favorite on the show, so maybe this one didn’t tape before some of his other shows.

Questions Only: A Passionate French Love Story

Mike: “Do you remember the first time we met?”
Brad, immediately himself: “Wasn’t that before you were a Spice Girl?”

Mike’s improv hasn’t changed- he embraces Brad in his arms immediately.

Ryan and Mike’s scene is pretty great, as you can tell their earlier chemistry still works after 2 years. Mike stumps Ryan by saying something in French, to which Ryan responds “…I wish I knew what that meant.”

Mike and Brad’s chemistry, again, gets very close
Brad: “Are you going to kiss me now?”
Mike: “Am I going to give you a tongue-slathing? YES!”
Annnd Mike grabs Brad and kisses him. It takes him ONE GAME to return to his old habit. Fantastic.
Clive: “…I’m buzzing you out, Brad, to spare you further punishment.”
Brad, as he heads back to the step, slips Mike an imaginary card and mouths “call me”

Ryan slowly approaches
Mike: “ARE YOU NEXT??”
Ryan: [shrugs and heads back to the step]
Mike: [gives a DAMMIT motion]

Brad, reentering: “Did you have garlic for dinner?”
Mike, cracking up: “Did you notice the flex?”
Brad: “NOTICE?”
Brad, cracking, returns to the step.
Mike, in between giggles: “But that’s a question!”
I imagine Colin’s gotta be relaxing

Ryan, entering: “…have you seen my accent?”
Mike: “…this small, imperfect thing over here, you mean?”
Mike, internally: “THERE we go.”

Colin, fluent in French, says a whole line in french, asking for a cigarette
Ryan: “…who the hell are you?”

Clive sadly ends it there. I would have preferred that Colin got a few more lines, but…it was a long enough game either way, and it was basically the Mike show, which is nice.

Sound Effects – Colin is arriving at the honeymoon suite with his wife on their wedding night. Ryan provides sound effects.

The scene begins with Colin carrying his, albeit heavy, wife through the doorway, and plopping her onto the bed. Ryan adds a loud crashing sound as she lands.

Ryan’s goofy, faux-suave noises make Colin’s character especially goofy. He shakes a drink, and opens the top, only for it to spurt everywhere like a garden hose. In order to stop the flow, he puts it to his mouth and swallows a bunch. Then, realizing there’s none left for his wife, he adds a cute little shrug.

Colin, in the bathroom, puts deodorant on both armpits, then…turns around…and puts it somewhere else. Then…there’s an audible ‘BOING!’ Colin has to tie it to his leg with a towel. It’s amusing as hell

And then, of course, the second he picks her up again, she’s asleep. Clive takes a few seconds too many to end the game, but it’s still a pretty nice one.

Number of Words – Ryan (3 words) is Dr. Frankenstein, Colin (2 words) is his monster, Mike (1 word) is Igor, and Brad (5 words) is the chief of police.

Ah yes, around this point Number of Words playings would become a bit more high concept. This will be especially evident this and next episode

Brad is already chuckling when he hears Clive’s given him 5 words. Upon entering, he bounds in, going “Dr. Frankenstein, you’ve done bad.”

Brad: “Your monster is an” […yeah, that works] “ABOMINATION!”
Ryan, as if it’ll change anything: “HIS NAME’S GARY!”
Mike: “GA-RY?”
Colin: “…..GARY GARY.”

Ryan: “He’ll be PRESIDENT!”
Brad: “No he won’t. He’s…freaky!”

Colin, after seeing himself in the mirror: “ME DISAPPOINTED!”
Ryan: “No, Gary, No!”

There’s a frenzied end of this, where Colin lunges at Brad. Mike, finally figuring something to do, lunges around the other side of Brad, going “SANDWICH!”

Funny enough, but the looseness of concept prevented the game from fully taking off; at times Mike didn’t know what to do

Hoedown: Tight Trousers (and Pasta)

Ryan IMMEDIATELY BOUNDS TOWARDS THE STEP IN THE MOST SARCASTIC WAY IN A WHILE. Perhaps too many renditions of “a bit more up, Ryan” from Dan

Mike’s is…not much

Brad goes for the opposite suggestion: “I think pasta is religious, in fact I think it’s holy
I cover myself in marinara, and pans of ravioli
I sometimes clean al dente, by using it like floss
And then I stir it my pants to make the special sauce”
MY GOD. Not since ‘LOTS OF WARM RUNNY BRIE’ has Brad gone for the dirty joke like that in a hoedown. He looks a bit ashamed by it, too

Colin: “Sure, sometimes it cuts off my circulation, but I-”
He then realizes the only rhyme for ‘circulation’ is gonna make him have to do another one of these hoedowns, and faints.
Mike, as it’s been years since he’s seen Colin pull a Colin, applauds

A nice enough hoedown. It’s kind of odd that it’s not last in the show, though.

Weird Newscasters – Brad is the anchor, Colin (a bad stand-up comedian) is the co-anchor, Ryan (Elvis Presley) is the weatherman, and Mike (has been sacked and it’s his last day) is the sports presenter.

Colin would do a similar version of this quirk during Season 1 of the US version, with some of the same jokes.

Brad: “Why don’t you tell them about the genocide-”
Colin: “Oh yes, a horrible accident at the popcorn factory. Fifteen colonels were killed.”
[Kernels. Colin doubles over again]

Mike’s quirk is SO INDICATIVE of his conundrum in coming back. Mike’s first line is “yeah…everybody wins…I lose.”

Ryan’s Elvis is, again, a fantastic impression. And he handles it pretty well.

The game wraps up, and, again, Mike had only 1 line, and not enough to do. Perhaps he didn’t understand the game, and thought Brad would interact more with him, but he just had his one line. And it wasn’t enough to drive home the quirk.

Party Quirks – Brad is the host. His guests are Mike (tyrannical European conductor), Colin (can’t stop doing Riverdance), and Ryan (various things caught in a tornado).

More Brad proctoring! Fun!

Brad, premiering a joke he’s use with Drew, establishes the stage space, and opens a door, saying “…Clive, what are you doing in my closet?”

Mike, entering: “You have Shostakovich on. Shostakovich should have been killed by Stalin. PTUI!”

Colin’s is…diabolical, but he smiles throughout it, as you can see how painful this is.

Ryan manages to throw a ton of things into his tornado, like a cow, a taxi, and…Clive. He goes into “all that remains is to thank our contestants” before going back into cacophonous nonsense. Clive enjoys the nod, though

All in all, it takes Brad a minute to guess everyone, but it doesn’t feel truncated. Everyone has a chance to be funny, and Brad has a chance to interact with them all, making this a better Party Quirks playing.

Moving People – Ryan is on a very early emergency call at Colin’s farm to deliver a calf.

Clive talks to someone in a GWAR shirt, saying “you’ve got the scumbags of the universe on your shirt there…oh, it’s named after this show, isn’t it?”

Colin, starting the scene with his arms wide open: “I can’t hold her legs open much longer!”

Ryan’s bending over shaking Colin’s hand, and Orly goes to move his nearest foot to Colin
Ryan, semi-out-of-character: “…I can’t put the weight off of that foot, or I’ll fall!”

Orly, Ryan’s mover, keeps moving the SHIT out of him, which is nice, but with someone like Ryan it’s tough.

This game works because it’s a cross between Ryan playing an eccentric and Colin having to deal with him…and Ryan playing someone credible and the audience member making him look weird. And there’s a lot of effectiveness in just how Ryan won’t look at the right thing.

Orly puts Ryan’s hand on Colin’s face in a very plot-heavy moment.
Ryan, without a choice: “What I’m saying is after this is over…how about we get a drink somewhere.”

Not a bad one, as Ryan had a lot to handle, and Colin was a great straight man.

Greatest Hits – Ryan and Colin advertise “Songs of the DIY Centre,” sung by Mike and Brad.

Brad and Mike’s disco song is pretty good, but they cut away before Mike’s about to sing. Again, there’s an alarming trend of the editors butchering Mike McShane’s material, perhaps in an effort to boost the other three’s US-audience potential. So…they’re doing Mike dirty, even if he agreed to come back on the condition that they wouldn’t. That…is thirteen flavors of wrong.

Colin: “Yeah, I feel like hammering something right now…”
Ryan: “Not me I hope!”
Colin, chuckling: “No…”

Colin: “Remember that great protest song….”WHAT THE HELL IS IT WITH THESE INSTRUCTIONS?”

Mike does take the lead on this Simon-and-Garfunkel-esque number, leading with “Part X goes to Part Y, then you die.” Brad gives some fantastic harmony with him, as well

Brad, giving the most on the nose line: “This thing needs fixin, and we hate Richard Nixon”

Mike gives his exuberance and energy to the 70’s Reggae number, channeling Jimmy Cliff in starting with a megaphone proclamation of sorts

Brad, on the other hand, gives a sillier, more goofy reggae voice, with the vocal hooks, more of the stereotypical reggae thing, in comparison to Mike’s emotional yelling.

Still, on the reggae number, Brad and Mike are eventually able to work together, do some unison vocal hooks and work off of each other’s lines and work towards the same outcome. It’s a pretty good number overall.

At the end of the game, Brad and Mike give a very polite handshake as they head back to the seats, as their duo effort made the game pretty great, despite Mike’s issues.

Overall: A step down from the first two shows of the season, but not without its charm. When all four players were in tune, like in Questions Only and Greatest Hits, the games were electric. Still, some games were a bit foreign to Mike, and from the way he was edited and his general demeanor in some of the games, you can tell this was a down night for him. True, his energy and vigor was seen in several games on the night, but for the most part you could tell it wasn’t all genuine. He was doing this for the money, not for the appreciation of it. The producers needed an American, and Mike McShane took the easy paycheck, and didn’t come back.

Still, this show meant a lot toward the future of the series, as you saw how well Brad could connect to not only Mike, but Ryan and Colin. It felt natural seeing him up there, even 5 years later. He’d only get more comfortable as the series went on. And Ryan and Colin, of course, continued to excel.

Show Winner: Mike
Best Performer: TIE between Ryan and Brad. Statistically this was hella close, as both dominated the same number of games, so I’m not breaking this up. They both won the show- Brad for showing his versatility and openness, and Ryan for carrying games and not cracking under pressure (even in Moving People)
Worst Performer: Sadly, Mike McShane. At times it felt like he wasn’t on the same page as the other three, and that’s a shame.
Best Game: Questions Only, where all four performers, save for maybe Colin, are able to shine with one another
Worst Game: Weird Newscasters. Just had the least to it.