If anything, Series 3 of UK Whose Line has been a wild ride. The UK run was one of the most consistently funny sections of the show we’ve seen, recapturing the energy from a very middle-of-the-road S2. The US run was more scattered, with less highlight shows, and more manic, uncontrollable energy. If the UK shows were focused, the US ones were scattered and all-over-the-place. Other than a miraculous comeback show from John Sessions, and the first appearance of Ryan and Colin together, we haven’t had a lot of truly great shows from this stretch.
However, tonight, WL attempts another ‘summation’ show, bringing four of the stronger acts of the series together to recapture the spark. In S2, this kind of show…sort of worked, but all the good stuff ended up in a compilation. Tonight’s show features the four people who made the flight from the UK together- Josie Lawrence, Mike McShane, Sandi Toksvig and Greg Proops. This would be Sandi’s last show, which is sad, but I’ll be missing the personality rather than the improv.
LITERALLY FROM THE TOP OF THE SHOW, there’s this fellow in the audience who seems to think he’s on the set of Arsenio, wooping and hollering from the back. A very confused Greg and Josie, from the seats, return the gesture.
We’re STARTING WITH MARCH??? OKAY THEN…
Already, the quality of verses has vastly improved, as Josie and Greg’s are really well done and very sweet.
AND THEN SANDI…
Sandi, after missing a cue: “…god almighty…”
Sandi does stumble briefly, but lands on her feet with a good enough rhyme. For a game that always worried the hell out of Sandi, she sure knows how to leave it on a good note.
I do see why they did this early, because this game had a ton of energy tonight, rather than coming at the end and getting burned out, semi-coherent verses.
Alphabet: Greg and Sandi (at the optician’s) starting with X.
The scene starts well, as both of them are really good at this game. I’d also like to point out that Greg going “EEEEEEEEEHHHHHHH” sounds an awful-lot like a certain round-headed science-loving comedian from Ireland.
Greg: ‘Say, uh…what are you doing after this appointment?”
Sandi: “…tea time?”
Greg: “….Umbrella time? I open up, you get under…”
Very charming and fun scene, as you can see Greg and Sandi got along well on the show.
Tag: Greg and Mike start, Sandi and Josie enter later
The audience suggests Greg get down on all fours.
Greg: “…thank you…”
Clive: “get down, Greg…”
Greg, seeing this the other way, grimaces at Clive. “You never stop, don’t you?”
Clive, without missing a beat: “Well, you never start.”
Someone in the audience says Mike should be on his back.
Mike, pointing to Greg: “On HIS back?”
Greg, adjusting his glasses, flips off the audience.
Sandi, under Mike’s legs: “…well, it might be fun for you, darling, but I’m not enjoying it…”
Greg: “…this is the best blind date I’ve ever been on…”
Quick round, but still very funny.
Greg: afraid of women
Mike: obsessed with poodles
Clive upon getting the suggestion that Greg’s ‘afraid of women’: “Well, uh…then maybe you know Greg…”
Greg has a priceless reaction here. He’s shocked, then smirks, and goes “well, YOU DO, DON’T YOU CLIVE…”
Josie and Greg’s song is fun, and there’s a nice amount of fun rhymes- Josie gives her character a nice accent, which helps.
I will give the edge to Mike’s for being a more masterful song, and giving himself more of a character.
Not sure why, but in the middle of Josie’s rebuttal, Greg absolutely loses it laughing in the background. I don’t know what he was watching, or what about the ‘really strange clipper’ line it was, but he’s GONE.
Props: Josie and Greg vs. Mike and Sandi
Josie: “JUMP. JUMP, I DON’T LIKE YOU, JUMP.”
Sandi: “…alright, Mr. Wilson, d’you want to do a little pee in here for me…”
Party Quirks: Sandi hosts
Mike: WWII Submarine Captain
Josie: circus performer
Greg: horse racing announcer
This, if anything, feels like a later-era Party Quirks. Sandi has gotten better with reacting to thinks, and responding to players- when Mike pulls down a periscope, Sandi goes “what are you doing with my microwave?” When Josie enters doing countless circus things, Sandi mutters “Oh, the appetizers have arrived…” It’s quite a lot like what Brad Sherwood or Chip Esten would do while hosting.
Film and Theatre Styles: Mike and Greg (pilot and co-pilot in airplane)
This is down here, March is up there, Josie and Sandi don’t get to play? Curiouser and curiouser.
Greg has a nice moment of response- once the Rocky style is called, he goes into a Stallone face, but sees that Mike’s going for Stallone first, so he goes into a Burgess Meredith impression instead, which works even better.
Mike’s Tim-Currying in the Rocky Horror style is…something I did not expect to enjoy today.
Greg, at the end of love story, leaps into Mike’s arms, and it gets a couple ‘ooooh’s from the audience. Then, right into saturday night fever, where Mike throws Greg back down and does a Travolta stance. It’s pretty seamless, and a great way to end a nice playing of the game.
American Musical: psychology, tennis, training for a marathon, visiting roommates
The first segment is pretty long, pretty passionate, and irons out the story in a really nice way.
Greg, entering: “You guys have really run a long way…you’re in Minnesota, now…”
This isn’t the greatest musical, but once Sandi enters as Dr. Ruth, it gets really, really funny.
Greg: “Hey, thanks for helping me with my tennis grip, Dr. Ruth…”
Overall: A good show, but without a defining moment or anything too great, which sums up the majority of the US run. Everybody was in great form tonight, and no games were truly bad, but nothing really escaped ‘good’ for me. There wasn’t anything like the ‘smashed the car’ F&TS, or anything like that.
Show Winner: Greg
Best Performer: Greg, for having the show’s funniest moments, and for getting into some banter with Clive.
Worst Performer: Surprisingly, Mike McShane, for just having less ‘great moments’ than everyone else tonight.
Best Game: …Film and Theatre Styles, over Alphabet. Just a better top-to-bottom game, with more equally good moments.
Worst Game: Props by default