After nine years of marathoning 40-minute videos of “Best of Scenes from a Hat,” “Best of Props” and that one episode with Robin Williams on YouTube, the improvisational comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” is back for its ninth season on the CW Network. Cast members Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie are all back again with the traditional improv games that we all know and love. The show is even filmed on its original set, with the same purple-blue backdrop. Even musicians Laura Hall and Linda Taylor are back to entertain.
Improvisation is a form of acting and performing for an audience without a prewritten script; everything is done instantly and offhand. The actors don’t know anything before jumping into the game, and that’s what makes the show so funny.
What started out as a simple British improv program turned into an American comedy staple as creator Dan Patterson allowed the show to become “Americanized.” Suddenly, on ABC and ABC Family, the 30-minute comedy show became a hit.
The new “Whose Line?” fortunately means another generation of people get to witness the genius of unscripted comedy, which they will soon realize has influenced all of their favorite movies and television shows, “Bridesmaids” and “Saturday Night Live,” for instance, serving as notable examples.
The revival brings back classic games such as “Scenes from a Hat,” “Props” and “Weird Newscasters.” To keep things fresh, there is a new game called “Sideways Scene.” It’s a game where contestants lay on their backs on a set that is then broadcast onto a separate screen for everyone to see. It challenges them physically as well as creatively. This is one of the only new games that “Whose Line” brought to broadcast and is easily a new fan favorite.
Aisha Tyler is the new host, replacing Drew Carey as he’s tied up with commitments to “The Price Is Right.” Tyler adds a different dynamic to the show, often being just as funny, if not funnier, than Carey on every occasion. While viewers may miss the banter between the bald Mochrie and the then-portly Carey, Tyler still keeps an ongoing dialogue with the cast members as well as the audience.
What’s great about the new adaptation is that mostly everything is the same. They have their key players and one spot each week for another player. This role could be filled by actors, television personalities or an old favorite. Most recently, former cast member and comedian Jeff Davis has occasionally returned to that seat.
It’s almost as if the show never left us. Its effortless jump into 2013 proves that this kind of comedy show has not died. Brady’s voice still has the same tone and hasn’t strained with age, Mochrie and Style’s bromance seems to be even stronger and the audience’s participation remains unwavering.
Each episode begins with Aisha Tyler in the place of Drew Carey, standing high in the audience, introducing the show, cueing it into the theme music as she makes her way down to utter the famous phrase, “Welcome to ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ where everything is made up and the points don’t matter!” Her jabs at something pop culture related never fails to get the crowd going, sometimes even more than the introduction.
The show remains quick paced and quick fire, keeping the cast and the audience on their toes, something that a lot of television shows stopped doing as plot points became more and more predictable. Despite being the same games time after time, everything is brand new.
As of now, after the release of the fifth episode of this season, the show remains strong. Strong enough that the CW Network has decided to give the show a second season already. Toward the end of this year or the same time next year, the second season of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” will have 12 more half hour episodes for people to enjoy.
A lot of what people watch on YouTube is what people are nostalgic for. People love their vampire-teen-wolf-creature-romances now, but simple comedies still have the power to engage everyone. Just by looking at the view counts on any “Whose Line” video on YouTube, it’s evident that the return of the show came at a great time.
Though the show lacks memorable things like Ryan’s crazy shoes and even more physical comedy (since most of the cast is a bit older now), the show still shines and holds a place in everyone’s hearts. For a refreshing blast from the past, tune in to the CW Network every Tuesday at 8 p.m. “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” didn’t disappoint back then, and it sure as hell isn’t disappointing now.