Recent Series /
WL Online /
Scoring & Winning /
Down Under /
Host's Comments /
Physical Attributes /
- Colin, Ryan and Wayne are now regulars on the show with improvised music performed by
Laura Hall and Linda Taylor. Regular fourth-seaters include Chip Esten, Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops,
Kathy Greenwood and Jeff Davis, plus occasional guests including Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg.
Extra celebrity guests have also joined in for individual games. The musicians are now often accompanied
by extra bandmembers including Cece Worral-Rubin, Anna Wanselius, Candy Girard, and Anne King.
Drew has commented that while The Drew Carey Show is starting to run out of ideas, "I'd
like to do Whose Line for the rest of my life".
WL has passed one-hundred episodes in just 3 years - the 40-episode seasons it now receives have
not been commonly seen since the days of "I Love Lucy". The reasons for this are WL's good ratings
performance and the minimal cost to make it (as well as the ability to create several episodes from
each single taping session). These factors have landed it in tough timeslots against opposition
including Friends and Survivor - naturally these have pulled down ratings, but WL has continued to
perform, and with the cost ABC can afford to put it up against the big guys without concern.
The show is currently considered 'on hiatus'. New episodes have not been recorded in some time, as ABC
are still squeezing every last episode from the previous run of tapings. Many were recorded at that time
as networks faced the threat of writers' and actors' strikes, and WL was seen as promising material as
a filler if problems occurred. This resulted in the commissioning of 66 new episodes and extra repeat
rights for episodes up to the end of series 4, increasing the normal 2 repeats up to 10.
- The summer pilot run of WL in the US premiered on August 5th with an 8.7 rating
(11.7 million viewers), equal with the Drew Carey Show. This made it 11th most-watched show for the week,
hottest premiere since 1995, and best viewer retention (100% from the Drew Carey Show) since
1996. The second episode easily defeated the premiere of cartoon 'Stressed Eric'
(7.3 rating/13 share compared to 5.1/9). The remainder of the pilot run stayed similarly in the
top 20, regularly beating summer Drew Carey repeats.
- With these results, new episodes of the show were quickly comissioned and it returned as a
mid-season replacement for "The Secret Lives of Men". These fall episodes enjoyed similar success,
rating just behind new episodes of the Drew Carey Show. It ranged between 1st and 3rd
in its timeslot, facing tough competition which included hit movie premieres, 60 Minutes
II (which it soon overtook), and major events like the Grammys.
The US series came about because producer Dan Patterson had been trying to pitch the series to the US,
and Ryan Stiles had suggested to Drew Carey that they try bringing it over (having regularly performed
improv in clubs together). Originally Dan had been having trouble with the first attempt called off
because the new production company wanted to change the show too much. With Drew and Ryan as executive
producers, and Drew as host, ABC tried the show out for a 6-episode run during the summer. The original
cast of this version included Ryan & Colin as regulars, common guest performers like Greg, Brad, Wayne
and Denny, and a few guest stars from the Drew Carey Show (Kathy Kinney, Ian Gomez). It apparently took
them some work to convince that Colin would appeal to a US audience!
The 1998 UK series was taped in Los Angeles to celebrate its 10th anniversary, partly due to
convenience with tapings dates of the US pilot. Clive Anderson hosted, with Laura Hall providing
music (Richard Vranch was not asked to attend). Wayne Brady did his first taping for this series,
his performance here was perhaps what led to his several appearances on the early US episodes
(which aired first).
Many of the Whosers trek over to LA for the tapings, and many have written reports of their experiences
(including things like cut-out games, meeting the contestants, backstage goings-on, etc). Check out
http://www.whosers.com/ for links to various reports.
The 1997 UK series was a regular series, although it featured a number of 'extra' episodes not
screened until some time after the regular series had finished. These were 'normal' episodes
made out of the same tapings, evident by a number of repeated introductions from Clive, the
contestants wearing the same clothes, and the occasional repeated game (e.g. the two
'Space Hoedowns', each different except for George Wendt's verse).
- US vs UK: The differences between the two versions are fairly noticeable - the hosts have somewhat
different styles, Clive being a more reserved host with witty banter to the contestants or audience, Drew
a little more 'in your face' and enjoying himself as much as the crowd. Drew's name was a big factor in
getting a US network to take on the show; they of course wanted him to feature, leading to the "Drew Game"
at the end of the show. The US version was a touch formulaic to begin with, but has brought in more
pop-culture based games (Millionaire, Survivor, musical styles) and has particularly capitalised on the
musical talents of some contestants. Extended games of Greatest Hits let Wayne and others show their singing
abilities while Ryan & Colin get zanier every week in their introductions; African Chant, Motown Group and
some Song Styles games have brought the lesser-singers up to sing or dance; and Three Headed Broadway Star
and Irish Drinking Song add new challenges to musical performance. The other noticeable thing in the US
version has been the added impact of network censors, deciding what may or may not go to air, and bleeping
numerous inoffensive words usually because of a 'naughty' double-entendre context, including "hand", "cat",
"Mrs Claus", "pussy", "mother" and "Senator Dole".
Whose Line Online
There are many sites about both the show and its contestants which may
be found - those listed in the links section, the cast page and the webring
cover many of them, and more are appearing all the time.
To meet other fans online, I would suggest checking out the messageboard
to get an idea of what we're like, and then join in the regular chats on
IRC. The server is irc.axpi.net and the channel is #wliia.
The best time to chat is 10 PM EST US (early morning UK, early afternoon Australia).
For newbies, you can get mIRC from www.mirc.co.uk
for free, then join the server irc.axpi.net (or 'AXpi Random Server') from the list,
then type "/join #wliia" - we can teach you from there!
Other chats are held by various groups, including the own page. Jim Meskimen
runs the Really Spontaneous Theatre Company.
At the Comedy Store Players site the Players sometimes
post on the message board. Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, Josie Lawrence, Jim Meskimen, Jim Sweeney and
Richard Vranch used to occasionally post on the fan messageboard.
Colin and Richard Vranch have signed my guestbook. I'd love to hear from contestants reading these pages,
please sign the guestbook! And for fans, as always, be careful with people online claiming to be a
contestant - not often an issue for the WL performers, but you can't always be sure. And be courteous
if you are trying to contact a performer!
Many of the contestants also have various pages devoted to them - see links
from the cast page, and also the 'other links' on the links page for pages
on their other productions. Cast with 'official' fan-created pages include Greg,
Colin, Wayne, Brad and Ryan. Greg didn't know about the many sites devoted to him and
the show until some fans met him about creating an official page!
The first convention was held on March 6-9 1998 in Toronto. Colin Mochrie
was the special guest. Events included playing of Whose Line games, watching
of WLiiA-related videos, sightseeing in Toronto, VIP lounge at the Reverb,
and other activities. The highlight was a visit to the Tim Simms Playhouse,
Second City on the Saturday night, to see Colin and Paul O'Sullivan perform
in a show. This was followed by drinks with Colin (and much autographing
and photos!). Again, see the Whoser page for info.
The second convention, held at the Ryerson International Convention Centre
in Toronto, from June 25-27 1999, also had a late-announced guest appearance
from Colin. See the Whoser page for further details.
The third convention in 2000 returned to the Ryerson and was a great opportunity
for the fans to get together; with the usual reenactments of classic moments,
playing of improvisational games, and a live internet Q&A with Greg Proops, the
weekend was great fun.
- WhoserCon 4 and 5 were held in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
- For informations on past and future cons, see the Whoser page.
For pictures, check out Mochrie's site.
- For info on upcoming WhoserCons, check out the
WhoserCon Page, Whoser Events Calendar.
Whose Line - The Radio Show
This recorded one season in 1987-88 (broadcast 1988) before the show moved
to TV. Clive hosted and Dan Patterson produced. Steven Fry and John Sessions
were the team captains, with people such as Lenny Henry, Dawn French and
Griff Rhys Jones appearing as contestants. Two episodes are available online
in streaming Realaudio at comedyradio.net.
Some information on this and other successful BBC radio comedy shows can be found
at Radio 4. The
series has been recently broadcast by BBC7.
All UK series have used the same music. The US music was intended to be a more
"Blues Brothers"-style version of the theme. It was changed after the pilot series.
The first series titles feature a large box in the middle of the screen
with the logo in it, and 2 smaller ones - one in the top left with an image
of Clive, one in the bottom right with an image of John Sessions. The Clive
clip played, then John, then another of Clive, then John. The middle box then
shows 3 clips from the episode, usually featuring each contestant, concluding
with a group shot with the logo overlayed.
Series 2 - 5 feature a quick series of shots of people with blacked-out
skin acting out various roles - tap dancer, Hamlet, a banana duel, various occupations,
rappers, gangsters, musician etc. They then conclude with the block letter logo
coming up, an underline on LINE and the question mark appearing on the last beat.
The American episodes from series 3 and 4 use the same titles but replace the black &
white background of the logo with an American flag.
Series 6 - 10 feature an animated scene of a horizontal white line on a red background,
which distorts to form a line-character who starts acting out a scene. As he does so he
splits to form a second character who starts a new scene, and they split to 3, then four.
At the end of the music the four characters move off and the last one grabs the line, whips
it and it twists into the squiggly-text logo.
The Hollywood-taped 10th UK series used the same animation but with a neon-pink line over a
starry night background. As the logo forms the background pans down to show the Hollywood
sign in white over a silhouette of the Hills.
The US version does not have opening credits as such, but the music plays as a brief
animation of four purple characters acting in the 'O' zooms out to the blocky-fonted
(Avenida) logo, and Drew introduces the contestants from up in the audience.
The music continues until Drew walks down and takes his seat.
Early series start with Authors (all 4 contestants) then Film & Theatre
Styles (in pairs). They then have a round of "different games" with two pairs
of contestants each playing a different game, and usually end with
a game for all 4 players (e.g. Party Quirks or a song). The contestants
usually appear in an equal number of games.
Later UK series often (but not always) start with "Film and Theatre Styles", "Scenes from
a Hat", "Superheroes" or "Questions Only", and often finish with a Hoedown or sometimes
Bartender, Prison Visitor or Psychiatrist. Contestants don't always appear
in the same number of games.
The US episodes don't necessarily have a set format, but games like "Let's Make A Date",
"Weird Newscasters", and "Greatest Hits" are played in a majority of episodes. They also
regularly conclude with a Hoedown or Irish Drinking Song. The usual format (depending on
the contestants) is to include at least two different songs - from the 'basic' song games
(Song Styles, African Chant), the 'hosted' song games (Greatest Hits, Telethon), and a
'group' song game (Hoedown, Irish Drinking Song, Three-Headed Broadway Star), the later
often used as the Drew game.
Some of the games in the later series seem to have evolved from earlier
games. The game of Hats (later Dating Service Videos) seems to have come from World's
Worst, and Narrate (once called Film Noire) probably came from the style's use in Film
& Theatre Styles or Scene to Music. Remote Control may have been an updated Authors,
Foreign Film Dub from Expert Translation, Greatest Hits from Musical Producers, and the
original Rap has developed through Gospel, March, Hoedown and Irish Drinking Song.
The American version has also adapted a few of the games slightly - "Film and
Theatre Styles" becomes "Film, Theater and TV Styles", and "Alphabet" introduces
a time limit to become "90 Second Alphabet". More details are on the
The show has progressed musically through the original Rap (to a taped drumbeat), March,
Gospel, Hoedown and Irish Drinking Song. Hoedown was settled on for a long time (and continues
today) - perhaps because it is a style that the less-musical contestants can still perform and
crack jokes in. IDS has provided a more difficult variation on the group singing format. Recently
games like African Chant and Motown Group, as well as some Song Styles games, have allowed all
contestants to get involved, either by singing or by dancing in the background.
John Sessions is in every early episode and his name appears with
Clive's in the credits.
For many series Ryan has been in every episode, and Colin joined
him as a regular for the last few UK series.
Mike and Sandi appeared in many during the middle series.
Josie, Tony and Greg appear in a lot of episodes, but not usually in a
long run of consecutive episodes.
Wayne Brady is now a regular on the US series. The fourth slot
mostly rotates between Brad, Greg, Chip, Kathy, and Jeff.
Scoring & Winning
No systematic scoring system is used - Scores range from no points to millions
of points (and other things) according to Clive's whims. In early series
Clive usually engineers the points in order to get a particular winner.
But soon the points had little relation to the winner on the day.
The points increase in size as the series goes on - the first series stays
between about 0 and 1000 points per game, with later series regularly reaching
up to the millions.
Drew doesn't even bother to award points all that often... although he is
famous for saying that "the points don't matter!". He's awarded points in advance,
points to crowd members, money instead of points and other things. But the points
have now mostly become a source of intro jokes for other things that "don't matter".
The "winners" in the UK series get to read the credits in a style of Clive's
choosing. These range from "American gangster movie", or "two guys who
need to go to the toilet", to "Colin snaps and says what he really thinks
- In the US version, the 'winners' get to do improv with Drew, alathough they
often actually get to sit at his desk while the losers play the Drew game.
From the second series, Drew also chooses contestants to read the credits in a given
style. The other contestants often help out in the background. The style is sometimes
based on a particular highlight from that episode.
Tapings and Compilations
- Filming on the show goes on much longer than the half hour, with many games
being played several times, and the best games go into the episode.
In the UK versions, some of the best unused games and bloopers have been shown
in compilation episodes at the end of the series.
- It is possible for a good taping session to provide material for more
than one episode.
- The most blatant example of these multiple tapings comes in the 1997 UK series.
A number of 'bonus' episodes, not screened in the original run, were put on after the
compilations. These came from the unused bits of certain tapings, but don't always
look like extra episodes - the introductions from the original episode are often used, and
on one or two occasions where games were played twice, these are included. The most
confusing example is the two space hoedowns, with the bonus episode featuring a different
verse from each contestant except for George Wendt!
- On the US version it's become common practice to get more than one episode out of a
taping session - ABC regularly squeezing out up to four! This is usually covered with different
introductions, although can be spotted by the same contestant line-up and the clothes they wear.
The games are often lumped together based on a particular running gag, such as "Captain Hair"
or "Milk Duds". The results of these practices are debatable - it means the less sucessful games
still get aired, and reduces the possibility of making topical references since the material is
still used for episodes long after the tapings have concluded. Also it has meant that the contestants
have not been required to perform recently, as the last set of tapings has provided a couple of
series' worth of episodes.
- In early series the between-games edits can be obvious but are harder to spot later
on. Extra links or 'pickups' are recorded at the end of each taping (which the
contestants are not usually happy doing!). These include the host recording
introductions so that different games can be edited together, or positioned
at the start or after commercial breaks. Contestants may be asked to redo verses
of a song or parts of a scene if the original (or, more likely, part thereof) was
too poor, too controversial, or would require too much censorship to go to air.
These can also be used when there were technical problems with the original recording.
- There have been some strange cases in both versions where two different hoedowns have been combined!
The hoedowns were not recorded this way, but were edited together. This is covered in one episode by
Clive introducing the hoedown with a choice of two topics; in at least one other it just appears that
Colin decided to sing a completely different topic to everybody else.
The early seasons feel quite slow compared to the later ones, with games
running on longer and Clive not being as quick on the buzzer (e.g. during
World's Worst suggestions).
They do actually rehearse the show beforehand (so the cameras know where
to be positioned for the games), usually by playing the games with suggestions
from previous shows (so it is still improvised - don't panic!).
For Film Dub, they are shown four clips, one of which will be used in the show.
WLiiA Down Under?
An proposal for an Australian series of WLiiA was apparently given to
the Channel 9 network but rejected as being too risky. Tim Ferguson (Doug
Anthony All Stars, Don't Forget Your Toothbrush) was apparently suggested as
host. Given the way the channel has treated the US version, it's probably unlikely
that they'll be the source of anything new. Channel 10 has used 'improv show'
auditions to trick Rove Live guests, and used some WL-style games (including
Party Quirks) on Big Brother.
Jokes about clothes are common. Ryan once wore a bright orange shirt and
was dubbed by Mike the "Neon Love Chicken". When Steve Frost was wearing
a Hawaiian shirt, an audience member suggested "Hawaii 5-0" for Film &
Theatre styles. In a game of Film & Theatre Styles, Josie tells Ryan
"I've bought a shirt. You need a new one.", and when the topic was "Two
lumberjacks arguing", Clive commented on Ryan already wearing the right
shirt. Colin also claimed to be impersonating a lime because of his green
jacket in a game of Prison Visitor. During Props, Greg (as a bee) said
"You're a big flower, aren't you?" to Steve, who was wearing a floral shirt.
Josie (as a cow in Party Quirks) asked Greg if he was "Taking the mick"
because he was wearing a cow-patterned vest. Tony is famous for his fashion
sense... amongst which he includes a green velvet "Lionel Blair" jacket,
a leather jacket, a "Doc Holliday" outfit, red and black plaid pants, and
others... and yet Debi Durst still wins the 'worst outfit' award for wearing
her baseball get-up on the show :) Ryan's
flame shoes are very popular!
Tony Slattery and Paul Merton often lose all their points if they fail
to guess the party quirks. Tony once stated "I'm not playing anymore" when
he realised that Rory Bremner was imitating him. Paul (and Tony) usually mention
Twiglets. Tony hosts theme parties such as "Come as Clive Anderson". Ryan
started one party singing "Ballroom Blitz" and another watching the exercise
video "Get away from those hamsters", mentioned in the previous game of
Expert - with Mike joining in for a bit once he arrived at the party.
Tony once rang up "Clive Anderson's Ties" and told them to shut down. Greg
holds themed parties including "come as Colin doing a dinosaur impression".
Tony once, on failing to guess the quirks, shouted "Oh, f**k off!" to which
Clive replied "Right, well, there you are. Hey, Tony, it's only a bit of
fun. Don't take it seriously, it's only your living. Let's go on, having
robbed Tony of any points he's ever had in this show for swearing on camera". This has
been censored on some broadcasts of the episode but not others.
In the '97 UK "Giving Birth" hoedown, Greg screws up and announces "Oh... f**k my ass....".
Though apparently "f**k my dead dog" was considered WAY too strong at a taping.(?)
Speaking of screw-ups, zapping back to the 3rd series "Bits that Went Wrong" (now sadly
absent from compilations, though the 'Best Of' US episodes are getting back there!),
amidst Josie's alphabet troubles and Mike's kissing obsession, Paul rambled on a bit too
long before suddenly coming to "oh for f**ks sake, sorry, I got bored with that, can I
start again?". Oh, and back in the 2nd series Mike's 'Royalty Rap' went off the rails in
BTWR with "I think he got pressed to death with .... oh f**k that." And Paul again got
bored with his regular Authors attempt... "A zebra from Windsor Safari Park
makes an intersting point. He says that in the IRA coverage recently on the... oh f**k off!"
Jimmy Mulville's suggestion for World's Worst person to comfort somebody
on their death bed was "F**k me, you look terrible!" which, surprisingly,
went without comment.
In Questions Only, Colin also said "Oh, screw you" to Clive when he was
buzzed out for using "Pardon".
Caroline once shouted out "Arse!" when she stuffed up in QO.
Paul may swear when Josie almost knocks the water jug over on him
just before Song Styles in the Christmas episode - he at best calls her a
'daft cow' anyway...
And now for the inoffensive stuff that ABC for some reason thought might direct their
viewers onto the complaints hotline. Be warned - the following may corrupt you - if
you happen to be an insanely puritan whinger. Let's face it, if you even GET these jokes,
it's your own dirty mind - not WLs fault! :)
Ryan's hoedown about his blind date ends with "she may be kinda bland, but she still
beats the hell out of using my right [hand]!". The laughter was enough that they
didn't bother to bleep it when all four of them repeated the last line moments later.
In a game of Narrate in a pizza place, Ryan is bleeped during a line which is believed
to be "Like this pizza in the oven, I wanted him [in me]."
Josie was also censored for double-entendring in the US series - but bleeping a
line about "the only restaurant where you can eat with your [pussy]" wasn't enough,
they had to remove her mention of a 'dead cat' as well! But not Drew's correction,
"you have to say it puss-AY!"
'Senator Dole' was bleeped out at one point, presumably to save ABC from lawsuits. Then
again, this one IS the kind of language that might make people want to turn their televisions off...
Colin cops a bleep at the end of his song title "yellow-bellied lily-livered ooooooh [mother]!" Maybe they
were just too quick at preempting what might have been next... :)
Drew gets it in the Children hoedown when he complains about "when you never ever get [laid]"
A bleep in the Christmas hoedown actually makes things sound much worse when Ryan
announces "Every Christmas Eve you'll find me [porking] [Mrs] [Clause]".
Clive and Greg seem to enjoy teasing each other. Clive often asks Greg
if they "have something in America", whilst Greg enjoys making jokes about
Clive's receding hairline or lack of neck. For example, see the start of
the example sports
commentators script. Greg also gives some patronizing replies to Clive
such as "I shan't quibble, Mr. Anderson. Pray, let us move on. Comedy awaits!"
or "This is the nuttiest game that could ever be, Mr. Anderson". But Clive
has some witty replies - "Can you please not give a 2 syllable word, it's
confusing our American friend." These American jokes go way back towards
the start of the series. When John Sessions and Betty Thomas were a wife
and husband arguing over a map in Film and Theatre Styles, Clive asked
"You do have maps in America, don't you?" to the boos of the audience.
- Many of the contestants love firing insults at Clive, usually also
about the baldness or neck, though these are usually during a game and
can't lead to much discussion :). When Clive insulted Sandi's height ("or
have you been on your knees all night?"), an argument resulted between Clive
vs. Paul and Sandi, ending with Clive commenting "I'm not bald... I'm taller
than my hair". Best quickfire insult probably goes to Paul, though, with a
simple "Slaphead!". Colin is now the regular victim of all bald jokes on the show;
although if Ryan gets a party quirk mentioning anything like finding stupid people,
you can bet he'll head straight over to Drew.
- Tony, Greg and Ryan are probably the masters of getting their hoedowns/songs/whatever
to make a reference to Clive. Tony and Ryan usually end with it, Greg has been known
to also, but he likes to turn a song into a whole Clive insult session with lines about how
"his head glowed" (as well as the other features mentioned above). Ryan now seems to alternate
most hoedowns between a Drew insult (the regular attacks prompting Drew to launch
preemptive strikes on Ryan during his verse) and lines ending in 'penis' (maybe because he's
discovered it's the only naughty word that gets past the censors?). Launching a bald joke at
Colin can be an easy target in a hoedown, but also a big mistake; Colin is the master of hoedown
revenge (for instance his "I still get way more sex than either Brad or Drew" in the baldness hoedown).
Clive makes comments at the end of each game, such as "That game always a
great success... there are exceptions, obviously!", and also when he scores,
for example "That million points puts Greg into a shock third place", "The
scores are all level. They're different scores, they're just lined up on the
paper", "Excellent game. Pity this is a non-scoring round", or (around 1995)
"I'm getting a bit behind in the scoring, but I've just finished series 1".
Drew's comments were initially confined to little more than "The Points Don't Matter".
He's now started to find reasons for why they don't matter, or using this as an excuse
to give away ridiculous numbers or variations of points (preemptive points, money instead
of points), or to find similes for things that also don't matter ("... just like if N'Sync
and the Backstreet Boys traded guys...").
(thanks to Matthew Rudd for this great analysis!)
- Often violent confrontations are acted out in the show, and the level of
violence depends on the comic possibilities of the scene. Nothing violent
was expected when Greg, Colin and Ryan were in a log cabin during a game of
Changing Emotions, until one of the props supplied by Clive - an axe - was
slammed into Colin's chest and he proceeded to do "bleeding" actions for the
rest of the scene. Jim Sweeney, looking particularly fearsome, managed to
violently headbutt Paul Merton and Steve Steen in quick succession - "don't
you start, Mary!" - during the Scene From A Hat entitled "Prison Nativity Play."
- In Film & Theatre Styles, there are regular suggestions for styles which
demand violence of some sort, such as Sam Peckinpah, in which corporate boss
George McGrath spent the whole skit between buzzers shooting window cleaner
Ryan, with not one word spoken by either of them. Kung-Fu, or some other
similar martial arts medium is a regular suggestion by the audience, and has
led to Colin slapping HIMSELF in the face by accident during a roof-fixing
game, while Christopher Smith and Jim Meskimen - both classically trained
actors as well as competent improvisers - acted out a disturbingly accurate
kung-fu battle during a simple sketch about a boss sacking an employee.
- Obviously these are just fictional bouts and no-one actually suffered any
pain, but the show has seen occasions where competitors have been genuinely
hurt by the over-enthusiastic actions of their co-performers. Josie bit
Tony's finger very hard during a game of Helping Hands, despite the fact
that unusally for Tony, he didn't seem to have done something to warrant
such a violent reaction. He spent the next few seconds rubbing his finger in
obvious pain though his role as the hands provider meant we could not see
his face to check just how much pain he was actually in. He got his revenge,
spending the rest of sketch openly rubbing Josie's breasts.
- During a game of Film & Theatre Styles, Chip Esten managed to poke Ryan in
the eye as they acted as Laurel and Hardy. You could hear the squelch as
finger connected with eyeball and Ryan let out a small yelp of pain before
Chip giggled guiltily, apologised and asked Ryan if he was all right as
Clive buzzed in and paused to allow Ryan recovery time before giving them
their next style.
- Ryan suffered another bout of discomfort during another game of Helping
Hands, not quite through violence but more through his own over-zealousness
when as a hairdresser, his words prompted Colin as hands-provider to make
him drink from a bottle of aftershave. Presumably Ryan thought it must be a
drinkable liquid, particularly as he is known for his penchant to consume
any semi-edible prop on the Helping Hands table (he has famously eaten
snot-flavoured cereal, sour milk, cat food and brie over the years), but he
was shocked afterwards as he said in his French accent, through a fixed,
grimacing grin: "Oh - that'sa reala aftershave!" In fact, Ryan often seems
to be a victim of some sorts during Helping Hands, having to partake in a
fixed fight with Greg the small child when he played a children's
entertainer called Bobo while also going visibly dizzy when he tried to
spray some ReadyWhip cream into his mouth as a cakemaker, only to "get a bit
of air! Wooah!"
- Other physical contact with violent undercurrents have taken place between
contestants during games, though not to the extent that any person has been
hurt or made to feel discomfort. Mike slapped Ryan in Helping Hands when the
two had to act out a duel, and Ryan (through Colin's hands) returned the
favour, while Mike, playing a cannibal, also playfully bit Ryan the host's
finger during a round of Party Quirks.
However, all this pales into insignificance when one merely threatened piece
of violence is considered. People will always remember the "Weight Watchers
Party" in Scenes From A Hat when Paul famously said to Josie: "No luck
then?" What some people never heard was Josie, having grabbed Paul for
revenge purposes, said to him under the laughter and applause, "I'm going to
f***ing kill you!" It never happened - or at least, we never saw it
(thanks again to Matthew Rudd for this section!)
- Often the contestants will pick on a person's physical attributes as a
source of laughter, providing the attribute in question isn't deemed
controversial. These are most prevalent in Clive's intros - he has described Mike as
"all-compassing", "a greyhound bus" and "an actor, singer and comedian
rolled into one and a half". He has labelled Sandi "the compact economy joke
mobile" and Ryan has been branded "a man mountain". Greg's glasses means he
gets compared to anyone famous who also wears glasses, such as Chris Evans
and Elvis Costello, even though he looks not even remotely like either.
- Ryan's build has been picked on by Colin, who claimed in a game of Secret,
when he was going to have a Ryanectomy, that "it took them two weeks to find
the flamingo legs". Colin's lack of hair means he gets as good as he gives,
with Ryan telling him, during Three Of A Kind when he, Colin and Greg were
playing used car salesmen, "I see you can take the top off!" Josie also sang
at Colin during an American Musical "if you're feeling very bald, come to
Paris." And Steve, dancing with a large, handled hairy object in Props, said
"I know darling, but over there is a man with no hair at all", Colin
responded with "Oh Jeez, one of your eyebrows just fell off."
- Ryan was also subjected to a sly dig about his height when Chip, playing the
interviewer in News Report when the story under discussion was Snow White,
claimed he had found an eighth dwarf called Gangly. Ryan played along,
confirming his name as Gangly the Mutant Dwarf. Chip is also well-versed at
ridiculing Clive, while he also issued a similar baldness jibe at Jim
Meskimen during Bartender, "I'm glad you came here, I'm glad you called; I
thought you might be upset because you're going bald."
- Greg's spectacles have also occasionally been subject to ridicule - Ryan
asked him in Questions Only if he had more than two eyes, while Niall issued
a much broader reposte at Greg during Bartender when Greg claimed to have
lost his virginity to Clive. Niall responded with the closing line "when you
look like you, you've got to get it where you can."
- Mike's obvious physical attribute has rarely been mentioned in a game, with
only Josie daring to take the risk during a round of Tag, when she crawled
through Mike's legs, grabbed the tail of his jacket and said: "Oh I hate
camping!" As his attribute is of a more delicate nature, direct references
to it are avoided but when an audience member shouted he had a problem with
his diet as a suggestion for his song in Bartender, Mike shrugged it off
with: "Wow, all these weight references, I've never heard them before.
Get some original material."
- Clive has occasionally praised contestants for their physical attributes if
they are genuinely good looking without any obvious feature to their build.
Chip has been "our visiting man megahunk", Brad was labelled "comedy
five-card stud" and Julian was described as a man "whose face is so
beautiful it could almost be painted." Josie thought she was on to a winner
when Clive said she was "the sexiest comedian to come out of the Midlands"
though the irony hit home when he added "since Jasper Carrott", a man not
exactly renowned for his dashing heart-throb features!
Sex comes up surprisingly often in the show, and porno or its variations (Swedish Porn,
Emmanuel, Russ Meyer, German Porn, ...) are amongst the most commonly suggested and
used choices in Film and Theatre Styles (even Paul himself was calling out for it once).
This is hardly surprising - go to any improv show and you'll find they often have
great difficulty trying to get the audiences minds out of the gutter (at least for
the original suggestion; once they start performing all bets are off!).
- 69 points are often awarded to "suggestive" games, and when "Ejaculator Man"
was suggested for Superheroes, Clive replied "Come again?". Not to mention the many
jokes made when Greg was Impotence Boy ("I'm sorry, I thought I wasn't going to be
able to come... but then you'd know all about that!").
- Jokes have also been made during games of Picture, usually about the size
(or lack of) of the body parts of the people in the picture ("It's the cold,
really!...You can talk, you look like two aspirins on an ironing board!").
- Tony in particular is famous for exploring these topics, even managing to get the
line "He gives me an erection" into a rap about a Bank Manager. Mike followed this by
complaining about Tony's morals... and then singing about a Sperm Bank!
- In a game of News Report, Greg crossed over to the field by announcing "I think
there's someone coming in my ear" which prompted Ryan to look worriedly at his lap.
- One game of Party Quirks involved Mike thinking he was in a 19th Century whorehouse,
although Ryan's action of coming to ride Tony's camel looked rather suspicious
- In a Scenes from a Hat, for the scene was Olympic Sports We'd Like To See
they came up with Humping the Tony (not to mention the Synchronised Humping
the Tony which Mike suggested).
- Greg bending over onto a chair to warm up before a game prompted Clive to ask what
he was doing. He replied it was something special for "Sector R". He then suggested
they didn't have time to go into it, to which Clive answered "always time for you in
that position, Greg." Greg then proceeded to make some even more suggestive movements.
- Even in the US version, double entendres do sometimes make it through, with one
audience member being told all about Wayne's "big drill"... and various other censored
mentions. Wayne cracked himself up when telling Doris about his "two big meat-balls".
Actually, perhaps because of the censors, the US version sometimes becomes a question of
seeing how many sex references can be made without being un-euphemistic enough to get cut out!
Ryan seems to have discovered that the word "penis" doesn't get censored... to our peril,
as this is quickly rising up the ranks to level his number of "Drew Carey" jokes in hoedowns.
Ryan Stiles usually manages to do a Hitler impression in games of Hands
Through/Helping Hands, and has mentioned Nazis quite a few other times
on the show ("He's a deep-sea Nazi captain, but he flies!")
He also often talks about an "ex-wife" in games ("40 days of rain, rain,
rain! The front will be coming in right over my ex-wife's house, so the
bitch should be getting pretty wet!") and is often chosen to play jilted
lover / annoyed neighbour / angry business partner in games like Let's
Make a Date.
He often pulls his socks up as he sits down.
Colin has done just about everything to get out of singing a proper hoedown/bartender/whatever.
Past tricks have included fainting, having a heart attack, singing in German,
walking out half-way through, stopping and smiling through the rest of the song,
or shouting out "Instrumental!". He also often sings about the first audience
suggestion rather than the one Clive chooses - for example in the puberty hoedown
he sang about going grey, or in the vasectomy surgeon hoedown he sang about firefighters.
Ryan often calls his mates "Phil" or "Gary". Colin calls his mates or himself
(and Ryan calls him) "Bob". (e.g. Home Shopping - RS: "It's time to shop,
I'm Phil (Connors?)". CM: "And I'm ... Bob." / Questions Only: RS: Aren't
you Phil Connors? CM: Aren't you Bob ... Billyboo?). Apparently the two
of them were told to stop using Phil and Gary in case some Phils or Garys got
Greg usually plays the host in the "News Report" and "Sportscast" games
and generally starts the report with something like "I'm Bulge Temptingly"
or "I'm Deliciously Huge".
Colin's been doing some great character work recently too. In Home Shopping,
Ryan announced that he was "Gary" and so Colin became "Gary Too". And when Greg
was "Horny As A Hippo", Colin was too... though his name Tim.