An improv comedy show hosted by comedian Drew Carey, the show is a gathering of Whose Line Is It Anyway? veterans and fresh faces, as well as new guest stars. The format has changed somewhat, as Carey is not the solitary host and others take turns explaining the games. The setting is at the MGM Grand theatre in Las Vegas instead of a sound stage in Hollywood, which gives it more of a traditional stage improv feel.Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza has been cancelled, but Drew Carey still owns the rights to the show and another is being planned. Meanwhile, most of the old gang went to London and filmed a summer 2012 series for ABC, Trust Us with Your Life, based on the "Day In The Life" improv game. In 2013, Whose Line? itself was revived with Ryan, Colin, and Wayne returning, but not Drew.Clips and whole episodes can be viewed on YouTube.
Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza provides examples of:
Adaptation Distillation: The new game "Two Headed Expert" is basically "Three Headed Broadway Star" and "All in One Voice" meshed together and without the musical aspect. Until this one, anyways.
Adaptation Expansion: "Song for a Lady" is much more elaborate than the traditional Duets, involving asking the audience member about her hobbies and education and what country she'd like to visit, among other things. Also counts as Adaptation Distillation compared to the even-more-elaborate "American Musical" game from the old UK Whose Line.
Similarly, "Options" does this with the classic "Film TV Theater Styles", incorporating "Number of Words" and "Change Letter".
Ass Shove: in several gags and at the end of this one. Notice how Drew shakes hands with Ryan and doesn't shake hands with Colin...
Audience Participation: Many games involve bringing in random audience members to assist in the games. One confessed she was drunk but Colin quickly stated "Being drunk doesn't really hinder being on stage."
Brad: "I'm just gonna pick up this rock..." (Steve Kamer makes an odd sound) "Actually, it's a hibernating bear! I like to use a hibernating bear that looks like a rock so that when it's coming in, it's a big surprise to the enemy! They'll think, "Just a rock." But no, it's an angry bear that's been woken from its sleep in mid-hibernation!"
In one game of Kick It, one character stops rapping prematurely and complains about the previous comment. The other character then says "He didn't say 'Word'!", which breaks the wall, because they were cast as fictional characters.
The game controller then says 'Word'. The first character then says "well he did NOW!"
On a musical game, Kathy Kinney and Jeff Davis jump from a plane, but only Jeff dies, because Kathy is pregnant with his child and pregnant women don't die on TV.
In one game of New Choice, in one of those huge sections where Jonathan says "new choice" over and over again until they say something he enjoys, Ryan says to Greg "I want you to wear this" which is then replaced by a new choice. Later in the game, Greg is caught in a stream of new choices of his own, one of which is "I'm wearing it."
"Songs of the Stripper". Jeff started off with the line "Hey there mister, Hey there son", and two verses later Jonathan added "the stripper is his mom".
Busman's Holiday: Poor Sylvia the reflexologist; she came to Vegas from Canada, and has to massage Jonathan's feet.
Butt Monkey: Jonathan and Sean, mostly. Sean has been in both "Mouse Trap" games.
Jonathan briefly became this during one game of Freeze Tag when he humiliated himself with a seal rendition of Flight of the Bumblebees. The others then spent the rest of the game making him the butt of as many jokes as they could, including mocking his jacket, smacking him, and feeling him up.
They did it a second time in a different episode, same game, when Drew ended up on Jonathan's back. Jonathan comments that it's "not so bad." The others then proceed to make sure that Drew stays on Jonathan's back for as long as possible. You can see it on Jonathan's face when he realizes he never should've said anything in the first place.
The same sort of thing happened when Jeff was in Downward Dog the entire game of Freeze...until he said Freeze, and tagged himself out.
In this game of "Freeze", an audience member yells "freeze", surprising the cast. They bring him on to the stage, and the rest of the game is spent making butt jokes and getting all of the cast to sit on him.
Jonathan: That has never happened before, and I reckon it never will again once this airs.
Jonathan is often also stuck with the more strenuous or squick-inducing impressions, like the seal playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" and the cow that milks herself.
Jonathan seems to have adopted Butt Monkey status. During their second game of the Mouse Trap Game, several people throw mouse traps at him and Drew actually goes out of his way to get one caught on Jonathan's finger.
Whoever is playing "Mouse Traps" becomes one, too.
Jonathan: I dropped my towels. Can you reach down and pick them up for me? Sean: Sure, buddy. (starts rigorously patting the ground)
And now poor Jonathan has had his balls squeezed by Drew Carey while Jeff purposefully stalled on choosing a new option for the scene. Like the piggybacking example above, this was Jonathan's fault when he called Drew's hand a cup.
In one "Forward Reverse", Drew "punches" Sean, knocking him to the ground...
Drew: You're right. I'm sorry. Let me help you up. (Sean gets up) Jonathan: Reverse. Drew: Let me help you up. (Sean lies back down) Jonathan: Forward. Drew: Let me help you up. (Sean gets up) Jonathan: Reverse. Drew: Let me help you up. (Sean has a pained look as he lies down) Jonathan: Forward. Drew: Let me help you up. (Sean gets up) Jonathan: Reverse. Drew: Let me help you up. (Sean lies back down) Jonathan: Pause. Switch places.
Jonathan got his vengeance that day.
Colin is becoming one again. He's been the subject of many a hair joke. 'The Bald Gynocologist' anyone? Not to mention Jeff messing up Colin's hair in a game of Freeze.
A joke played soon after was "Table for Satan's grandfather?"
Colin's Butt Monkey-ness was expanded in a game of Options. Kathy was speaking in three words, while Colin was speaking in seventeen words.
Call Back: From the British version. The game Playbook (Every Other Line in the UK Whose Line)
Did They or Didn't They?: Played for laughs in ep. 38 when the Price is Right models guest star, and Jeff is shown leading one of them back off the stage. One beat later, they come back up, with Jeff wiping his mouth off and the model playing along.
Drew: "I wouldn't call it 'drugging you' per se... I would call it... preparing you..." Jeff: "New choice." Drew: "I would call it... getting you ready..." Jeff: "New choice." Drew: "I would call it... making you amiable..." Jeff: "Less creepy choice!"
Tends to happen a lot in Question This and some other games, when one player makes a wisecrack so obscure that the other winds up voicing his thoughts as he pieces it together.
Colin: "Now we gotta return all these rejected hats to Black Bart!" Chip: "He didn't like it when I spelled his name with an F!" (pause for laughter as the audience catches on early) Colin: "Yeah... (beat) Black Fart..."
Evil Laugh: When Ryan and Kathy are doing a scene about garbage collection, one joke has Sean laughing out loud. The way the mics pick him up (and then fade away) it sounds like Sean has something truly terrible in store for them.
Forced Tutorial: To make sure the audience members don't just stand up there without doing anything, as they sometimes did on Whose Line, they get a lot more instruction in the 'moving people' and 'sound effects' games, and get to practice it once to make sure they understand.
Four Eyes, Zero Soul: for some reason, Jeff's portrayal of an 'evil ski instructor' in "Question This" involved glasses.
Funny Background Event: The other players' reactions to the insanity is another Whose Line staple, and this time there's extra cameras on hand to catch them - unless they jump off the stools and out of frame, on occasion.
A bit hard to catch if you're not paying attention, but after Jonathan recites his handcuffs poem, when Chip changes the genre back to horror Jonathan can be seen giving Drew the Italian elbow gesture repeatedly.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Chip and Jeff. They're often paired together in games, always sit next to each other when in the background, and generally have a bromance going on. According to Jeff, he and Chip "have this brotherly ESP connection."
Hoist by His Own Petard: In the "Mouse Trap" game in Episode 10, Ryan steps into the scene partway through so he can direct Drew and Sean into more of the mouse traps, only to get snapped by one himself on his way back to his seat.
Greg: "The category is "Things you would find in a casino"..." (Beat as audience calls out their answers) Jeff: "I heard hookers and cocaine." (later) Greg: "The category is "Periodic Table Of Elements"!" (See above.) Jeff: "I heard hookers and cocaine again!"
Hotter and Sexier: While it isn't any less raunchier than the original Whose Line, GSN has cut and censored far less for broadcast.
Some of the Lighter and Softer approach from Drew Carey's Green Screen Show has been retained though, like the time they get a kid to voice Sound Effects, and Ryan calls out Jeff for even suggesting "Howard Stern".
Darker in the literal sense, too; The venue is pretty dark, and the cast wears mostly blacks and grays.
In one episode Chip managed to pluck both a Jeff and a Heather from the audience in the same game.
Coincidentally, the cast members Jeff and Heather were both absent from the episode.
There's been two different Michelles picked for "Song For a Lady".
Greg pulled out a Greg out of the audience in one episode.
National Stereotypes: In a game of "Two Headed Expert", Chip and Jonathan as an expert on the Eiffel Tower accidentally out themselves as Spanish, then try to pass for French by claiming that the Premier of France is Jerry Lewis.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: From a game of Story. A kid is thrown into outer space by an exploding Les Paul guitar and transforms into an invisible green giant that can fly.
Oh, Crap: In episode 35's "Freeze", Drew is sitting on the ground, and Jeff is on his hands and knees. Drew announces, "I've been in the desert for a while. Better get back on the donkey!" Ryan and Jeff make him freeze before he can sit on Jeff's back. A few scenes later, Jeff is still in the same position, and Drew returns.
Drew: Better get back on the donkey! Jeff: OH, GOD!
Off the Rails: "Sentences" can become this, since the audience writes lines the performers don't look at beforehand, and must use them when they're pulled out of their pockets. The "Ice Age" set with Ryan and Jonathan had "I can't believe my man is cougar material!" — and Jonathan trying hard to keep a straight face.
Operator from India: Wayne plays one in a game of Question This. After he gives his Overly Long Name he gets a call, at which point he switches flawlessly into a white American accent and answers the phone claiming to be "Bryce", going back to the Indian accent when the call is finished.
Orphaned Punchline: One Greatest Hits game involving "songs of the big game hunter" led to Chip singing about shooting an elephant and going "how he got in my pyjamas I'll never know". It should be the back half of an old joke that starts with "I once shot an elephant, in my pyjamas."
Out of Order: Each session of Improv-a-ganza gets spiced into more than one episode, resulting in the mentions of a small town called Elco and a guy named Smoke, in the "Question This" game from episode 9, "originating" from episode 16.
It occurs in the first episode. In the last rap of the "Kick it" session, Wayne mentions visiting "diamonds in Budapest". The audience reaction is almost certain to be at odds with a first-time viewer's reaction since the origin of that joke wouldn't appear until several episodes after.
Greg: "So what happened is, we were on the street where we came across this kidnote Charlie Sheen. and he said "I love you guys, I've seen your improv and your comedy, and I wonder if there is any tickets to the show", and so I told him... "No f—k off, we're sold out..." "
And Jeff towards the end of the gangsta rap "Lethal Injection":
"You killed 40 people and you didn't even care, Yo Mutha———, LIE DOWN THERE!"
Jonathan, in one game of Options, when the option was Poetry:
"Roses are red, violets are blue, the handcuffs didn't work, hey hey, f—- you!"
Ryan: I'm gonna have to put her down. Brad: No! Ryan: You're a bad cow. Bad, ugly cow! Brad: You think messing with her self-esteem is going to help? Ryan: Oh, you didn't think I was actually going to shoot her. Brad: Yes. Ryan: No, no, I just wanted to put her down.
Jonathan in "Song for a Lady":
"She's a nurse, and he's a cop; that's like cardiac arrest!"
Especially popular in Freeze Tag: "Ladies and gentlemen, Cirque du So-Gay" (Kathy seems to prefer "Cirque du Who-knows-what")
Drew choosing 'Scientific Names for Body Parts' in Question This.
Ryan using the name Roger in games with soap opera themes.
Drew being a stripper.
The mistreatment of cats.
Anyone being forced to redo their last lines far too many times in New Choice would inadvertently wind up blurting out "I love you" or "Iiiiii love a parade!"
Not an intentional one, but when asked for a number between one and five, several audience members have responded with six or seven.
Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: during "Sound Effects" (but of COURSE!) and some other games, like the time Heather Anne portrays a SouthernDitz in "Question This", and her "buzzer" goes "Bippity-boop!" instead.
"I say the sound so I know that I buzzed..."
There's also a Feet of Clay moment when announcers Rich Fields and Steve Kamer turn out to be about the same level as the usual audience members in this aspect:
Drew: Is your sword going clank clank clanky clank? Brad: Not without the help of your sword!
In episode 35, Greg and Jeff go "gloogloogloogloogloo" and "DING" when demonstrating how pudding can fluff panties.
One game of "Options" had someone suggest Black Swan, leading to an impromptu ballet and same sex kissing. Another one had the suggestion of The Princess Bride instead, which the players were more familiar with if Drew's "Inconceivable!" was any indication.
The official website ran a competition called "Drew's Clues Sweepstakes".
One game of "New Choice" had Greg deliberately avoid one of the two stock phrases mentioned in Running Gag above by busting out his pipes and singing "I love...Springtime..."
Small Reference Pools: An audience suggestion to perform a scene in the style of Train falls apart when none of the cast members involved of the sketch had heard of the band.
Audience member Wendy claimed to have grown up in a town called Forks - and Twilight jokes were noticeably amiss. Similarly, the suggestion of "Kazakhstan" in "Options" led to Drew and Jonathan talking in an incomprehensible gibber rather than a Borat impression.
And in one "Bob's Call":
Drew: (singing) "They're gonna pull your nose off - And put nails in your feet - Cos that's Transformers!"
The Smurfette Principle: Noticeably missing from the lineup are Kathy Greenwood from Whose Line and Julie Larsen from Green Screen - instead, we have Kathy Kinney and newcomer Heather Anne Campbell taking turns to be the one woman on the stage. More astute viewers will have noticed how their names get the exact same spot in the opening credits.
A few have also been directed at the New York Jets, from the cast and the audience.
The game Sound Effects has the improvisers making fun of the audience's sound effects.
Episode 14. Brad's idea of a supermodel pose involved forced vomiting.
To the Olsen twins. "They've got big heads and little tiny bodies. Look, if I put this pumpkin on my head, I look just like Mary-Kate!"
Ryan: Let's throw darts at your Olsen twins poster. I'm going to hit the anorexic one. Jonathan: New choice. Ryan: I'm going to hit the one with talent. Jonathan: True choice. Ryan: I'm just gonna hit one.
Jonathan suffered from this trope, often saying or doing things that would result in retaliation from the rest of the players, such as saying "This isn't so bad" as he picked up Drew in a piggyback (resulting in him keeping Drew or others on his back for the rest of the Freeze Tag game) or in Styles, trying to use Drew's hand as a protective cup, resulting in Drew squeezing his netherregions.
One game of "Moving People" starts with an over-enthusiastic woman from the audience getting rather touchy-feely with Drew - cue Ryan quietly stepping in for her and groping Drew's ass for quite a long while, before he finally notices.
Greg: "He would have stood there all day!"
Certain games like Forward/Reverse and New Choice WILL lead to this.
It happens again in a later episode before a game begins:
Wayne: Let's say that Greg is knocking on the door. You'll make the sound with your mouth. Try it right now, go. Audience member: Knock knock knock. Wayne: She's from the Land of Literal. Ryan: Better than "door door door".
Jonathan: (In the style of Dr. Seuss) I do not like you you you you, don't put your hands on Thing One or Two.
In one game of freeze:
Colin: You cur! You worthless, senseless thing! You block! You...monkey.
From "Question This":
Ryan: "The answer is 'Tahiti'!" (Drew buzzes in) Drew: "What did I use to oil up before every show? (rubbing his nipples) My Tahiti's!"
Videogame Cruelty Potential: "Mousetraps", for the pain involved (the cast have resorted to throwing them and ordering each other to walk across the stage), and "Reverse" and "New Choice" because callers can yell "reverse/forward" or "new choice" any time they want, as often as they want.
Jeff: I can say forward/reverse as much as I like, just to torture them.
Viva Las Vegas: The show is taped on a stage at a casino. Topical humor ebbs and flows through the show, beginning with the opening credits.
Waxing Lyrical: One of the less awkward audience submissions in "Sentences" led to Jonathan saying out loud "Man I Feel Like A Woman".
From one session of "Freeze":
"This is Jeff Davis reporting live on the scene... It is indeed raining men."
Jeff said this in a game of Sound Effects when he picked audience members who proceed to make sounds that don't make sense.
Also, in the game with the prostate exam, Ryan says this to Colin. Sure enough:
Colin: "He's dying!... I may have gone too far up!... CLEAR!!"
In the game of Options starring Kathy and Colin, Mexican dialect was brought up. Cue Colin speaking with a Scottish accent. While Kathy had a French or something-or-other accent. At least Colin had the excuse of being a tourist.