The improv game show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” began as a radio show in the U.K., then moved to British television in 1988. After that, in 1998, it was adapted for American television and ran eight seasons on ABC with host Drew Carey.
Proving that you can’t keep a good skit down, the show comes back to life on Tuesday, July 16, in a (sort of) new iteration on The CW.
“Whose Line” veterans Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady are back, paired with new host Aisha Tyler and weekly guest stars. Various games, with ideas supplied by the audience, test the performers’ skills. Tyler then assigns points to each performer, and someone “wins” each week.
Despite the show’s long history, it seems to be picking up new fans.
Mochrie tells Zap2it, “We’ve all been touring in various incarnations around the country. Brad Sherwood and I have been doing tours for the last 10 years. We noticed in the last couple of years, our audiences have actually been getting younger again.
“I think it’s because of YouTube. That’s where they’re catching up on the shows.”
Despite the competition aspect, as Mochrie points out, no matter who wins, improv is a team sport.
“You’re in survival mode all the time,” he says, “and your mind is going a hundred miles an hour trying to come up with stuff. If you do fall in trouble, you’re never by yourself. You’re with other people, so that’s when you take a step back, you rely on your partner to come up with something, and you’re there to support them.
“That’s what I love about improv. When you die, you’re taking people with you, as opposed to stand-up, where you die alone. If you die in improv, you’re going down with friends.”
Improv is not the career Mochrie envisioned as as a youngster.
“It’s a good life,” he says. “I can’t believe that we’ve actually made a living at something that wasn’t actually an occupation when we were growing up. It didn’t hit me then, that ‘I’m going to make up crap for the rest of my life.’ It’s worked out nicely.”