These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Acceptable Targets: The US version had a trend of hillbilly jokes. In the UK version though... it was Americans...
At least during the first few UK seasons, which had a maximum of 1 American player on occasion (Archie Hahn and Ron West in particular). As time passed and more Americans were added (reaching a 3:1 ratio eventually), any jokes were either Self-Deprecation or followed by snarking at something British.
Bald people and Canadians (especially the exchange rate with the Canadian dollar). So in other words, Colin.
Ryan's height, big nose, and big feet. Therefore, also, his ridiculous shoes.
In a few episodes of the U.S. version, Ryan also wore a Western-style shirt: Numerous cowboy jokes were lobbed at him. "...And a special yippy-yi-yo! to Ryan Stiles!"
Adaptation Displacement: Some of the games (even more in the UK version) will still make sense with just the audio - the only indication left of this show's radio origins.
Awesome Ego: Colin, fan favorite that he is, (jokingly) developed a bit of this as the American series progressed, which showed in his increasing indulgences. Of course, the audience just loved him that much more for it. Hell, he still has this:
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: After one sketch, Drew was joking with the cast, unaware of a stage hand hunching over his desk and refilling his cup with Pepsi. When he finally noticed her, the woman ran off. "Who the bleep was that?" Drew asks. Capping it off with "More ale, wench!"
Biting-the-Hand Humor: The first US show had jokes at the expense of ABC and ABC Family (including the fact that the latter is owned by Pat Robertson), and the second show jokes about the CW's younger viewer range.
Broken Base: US or UK version? Certain sites, like Youtube, are rife with comments along the lines of "X version is soooo much better". And God help you if you happen to enjoy both versions. The debate is so headache-inducing — and can even become so personal at times — that it's probably better to stay away from the whole thing. Yes, even on this very page.
And now the base is even further split with the advent of the new version with Aisha Tyler. Hasn't made the divide any prettier.
Creator's Pet: The Hoedown is the skit version of this. Drew loves it (and so does the audience), to that point that he calls it his "favorite game in the whole wide world" and whenever Drew participates in a game at the end of the show, 3/4 of the time it'll be a hoedown. The others...not so much (especially Ryan.) And they'll joke about how much they hate it regularly.
Crosses the Line Twice: Colin coming up with "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as the title of the animal porn movie he was watching. Simultaneously dirty and hilarious.
During a playing of "Hollywood Director" where Wayne and Ryan are motorists in a traffic accident and Brad plays a cop. As soon as Brad gets in, he says "Pardon me." and starts beating Wayne up.
Dork Age: You may not believe it, but Colin attempted some Gag Penis jokes early on, before leaving them to the expert ie. Ryan.
The hoedown theme, especially since you're practically guaranteed to hear it Once per Episode.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Jeff Davis, a guest star in only a few episodes and the youngest comedian in the show turned out to be extremely popular and later played a bigger part in Drew Careys Green Screen Show - which was unfortunately did not last. Eventually, this led to him being the first fourth-seater in the 2013 revival.
Mike McShane was one of the most talented of the UK show, but vanished following the show's move to the United States (and, reportedly, a violent back-stage argument with one of the producers.) McShane appeared in a cameo of Frasier and after having gastric bypass surgery and losing fifty pounds, became unrecognizable.
The skit version of this seemed to be "Scenes from a Hat", judging by how much applause it usually got from the studio audience whenever it was introduced.
Among the new faces in the 2013 revival, Gary Anthony Williams.
Clive: But there is a bit of a falling out here, because, having made you the big star that you are by bringing you on—you've gone off with another man! You've gone off to America to do the American version of Whose Line, which is exactly the same as the British version, except I don't introduce it!
Greg: Well, you know, Drew Carey hosts that one, and he's a bit different than you. He's very gentle. But, you know, Clive, I like it rough.
One playing of Weird Newscasters has Wayne as Michael Jackson at the age of 100. Rest in peace, MJ.
Even better(?); here he scores a two-hit with MJ and James Brownin a celebrity deathmatch.
One suggestion in Scenes From a Hat was, "Bad times to tell her you don't care." Wayne's joke was miming flipping through TV channels before doing an uncaring, "Yeah, I love you too". Drew then remarks, "Scenes from Wayne's real life." This joke isn't so much funny anymore since Wayne has divorced.
In a game of Let's Make a Date, Ryan Stiles played TV's Crocodile Hunter. At one point, he "dies" after clutching his chest and falling over. RIP, Steve Irwin.
In the original British radio program, Clive asked Stephen Fry to "be a manic depressive". This was seven years before Stephen was diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder.
After a disastrous game of Party Quirks in which Tony failed to guess Ryan's very obvious quirk, Clive remarked "I don't think we'll have [Tony] on the show ever again." This actually did turn out to be Tony Slattery's last performance ever, as he was fired and removed from the show after that episode.
In one playing weird newscasters, Ryan was to do the weather as "Siegfried and Roy whose act is going dangerously wrong." In October of 2003, Roy was mauled by one of their male white tigers, Montecore, during a performance in Las Vegas.
Some jokes about certain celebrities veer into this after their deaths or other unfortunate circumstances.
The second episode of the CW reboot features Kevin McHale from Glee as the celebrity guest. While it was probably exciting at the taping, the episode proper ended up airing three days after Glee star Cory Monteith's death.
Even worse... Wayne joked about getting a role in that show. Now that they're a man down...
Growing the Beard: Everyone agrees this happened at some point. There are people who prefer the British show over the American one, and there are people who love Wayne Brady and hate Tony Slattery and Steve Frost. Many think the show improved after John Sessions left, due to his large hatedom.
Harsher in Hindsight: Wayne and his wife got divorced in 2007. Which makes Drew saying "Wayne, how's the wife?" before Song Styles to be this.
Hilarious in Hindsight: The first (probably only) ever game of Survival Show resulted in Greg saying "I'm available to host The Price Is Right..." Some years down the line, Bob Barker retires - Drew Carey takes the reins. Then Brad decides to become the announcer. More hilarity ensues.
During one such Hoedown about House Arrest, Colin says he's got a real easy parole officer. The parole officer is Charlie Sheen.
Score one more for Greg: the first ever game of Sports Commentators had him in the role of one of the commentators. See Hey, It's That Voice! above. Bonus points for Rory, the other commentator, going into one of his obscure accents.
When Jonathan Pryce guest starred in one episode from 1989, he played a pirate in Party Quirks.
Speaking of which, the main article for SSDM (also see this page's CMoF entry) states how Stephen Fry's "Parthenon" line in Questions Only actually came back to haunt him on the set of QI.
One session of Props that wound up in the UK Clip Show eps (here) involved a massive cone that covered Ryan's head and shoulders. It was meant to be silly, but Ryan going completely quiet and motionless made it look rather unnerving, even back then.
One early UK session of Film Dubbing had Clive giving the scenario "two roommates in a flat", when the actual clip was really a documentary with two presenters. Thanks to the clip's format of addressing the audience, Ryan and Greg quickly turned it into a Confession Cam joke, predating The Real World.
The Newsflash game involving the rat infestation has Colin start off by saying "it started with some bad soup!" The plot of Ratatouille kicks off when Remy tries to fix Linguini's bad soup.
During Superheroes, Colin is given the name Presidential Candidate Man. The world crisis he is to solve is "no teleprompters". Fast forward 10 years, and one of the most popular targets of parody for President Barack Obama is his perceived over-reliance on teleprompters.
Here's an in-show example: during Colin's Newsflash on clips of himself, he famously added "It all started with a badly-timed bald joke!" A minute after the game ended, Drew was joking around about it when Colin started giggling out of the blue, and said "Oh! I said the bald joke thing, too!"
In an interview, Colin once told a story about a family of Whose Line fans he and Wayne Brady met the day before a taping who were planning on coming. As they left, the older lady in the family complimented Wayne and called him "a nice Christian boy". The next day, the family showed up and said older lady is picked for Song Styles. She was none other than "Lee the Lunch Lady". And now you know why Colin practically falls out of his seat with laughter from the chosen style of the game onwards.
The US series was responsible for a few of these - apart from obvious ones like Greg's suit, Ryan's shoes or Wayne's tight tees, the preference to short-sleeve shirts while junking the coats and ties from the UK version actually allowed the players to cut loose as physical movements were less impeded.
In blatant defiance of that, Jeff Davis and his very sharp suit and tie became so iconic that he made sure to wear one for the 2013 revival.
Steve Frost (from the UK version) has his Hawaiian shirts.
Jumping the Shark/Seasonal Rot: While season 5 of the U.S. version isn't really any worse compared to the others, it did make heavy use of something widely considered a symptom of jumping sharks: all the guest appearances. While they were almost always uproariously funny (Richard Simmons' appearance was outstanding for one), the season did make heavy use of celebrity guests.
The revival shows a similar reliance on guest stars.
Memetic Animutation: Colin appears in almost all such animations created; he played the sun in the very first one.
Plenty. One of the more popular ones is a response to a post with a picture of Colin reading from a card, accompanied by text with a reverse-engineered Scenes from a Hat pitch for the post.
Misaimed Fandom: In-show example during Scenes from a Hat, when the topic was, "Things that Make the Audience Boo"
Ryan: "You simply wait for traffic, then yoooou push the old lady! Push the old lady!" [Cue strange mixture of boos and applause] "...I wasn't looking for applause on that one, I was looking for..."
Most Annoying Sound: Some fans found the studio audience laughter to be often shrill and distracting.
Nausea Fuel: The mass of maggots footage in "Newsflash". The 2013 version adds another with footage of a dental procedure.
In-show example: During "Greatest Hits", the first music style was The Brady Bunch. Ryan remarked: "I had the hots for Alice." Colin began to speak, but looked like he was about to be sick. Eventually he said: "Sorry, just working with the visual."
If someone epically screws up, expect it to be referenced constantly for the rest of the episode. Other examples include Wayne spelling Howard as H-O-R-W-A-R-D (multiple times, in song). And then there's the infamous "Cosby and Hitler" incident.
Drew was in Geppetto. Wayne got away with it though.
Replacement Scrappy: Aisha Tyler is already getting this reaction for replacing Drew Carey in the planned reboot. Well before having even been seen in the role of host, unfortunately. Of course, for awhile, Drew Carey was this for Clive Anderson, at first.
The Scrappy: John Sessions is considered unfunny by many, and Archie Hahns (who was on during the same period) was derided in some quarters for his carrying props around and having an unfair advantage.
Kathy Greenwood. Sometimes just for being a woman, sometimes for being the most commonly-used female performer, and sometimes for "getting in the way" of the Ho Yay.
Aside from those reasons, often people think she just didn't contribute as much to the show as the other players: there were a lot of games that she never participated in (any of the singing games, "Sound Effects", "Film Noir", etc.) and in games like "Let's Make a Date" or "Party Quirks" she was usually the "normal" contestant. As a result, she had far fewer opportunities to create the memorable moments that the other contestants were known for.
Special Effects Failure: one game of Newsflash starts inadvertently with the green screen showing the studio cam's view instead of the archive footage intended. Chip and Ryan have some fun reaching to the far left to "touch" Colin's head.
Perhaps the best example of this is in the UK version wherein one prop broke, then continued to deteriorate throughout the sketch.
The tradition of showing disgusting and/or disturbing Newsflashes have not stopped in the revival. #DentalFears, indeed.
So Bad, It's Good: The audience members Drew brings up for Sound Effects always suck at making sound effects, which make the sketches that much funnier.
Suspiciously Similar Song: Greatest Hits and Song Styles/Duet almost always had improvised music meant to evoke real artists, especially after US season 2.
That One Level: The games may all be in good fun and the points certainly don't matter, but some games like Changed Letter, Multiple Personalities and the Questions Only variants can be pretty difficult.
Certain games get audible groans and expressions of dread from the performers, such as "If You Know What I Mean" (Ryan once described it as a party game if you want people to leave), "Hoedown" (Ryan again- he hates this game), "Number of Words" (during the 100th episode, Ryan groaned and quickly said, "I mean, "yay"!"), "Hats" (Greg, who will most likely complain about how immature or unamusing he looks while using said implements), and "Questionable Impressions" (or, as Drew puts it: "We're gonna change the name of that game to "Hey, Let's All Make Idiots Out of Ourselves").
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: A lot of fans of the UK version didn't like the American humor of the American version. Other things included how vastly different Drew's hosting style was to Clive's; Drew interacted with the players a lot more and even participated at times while Clive was far more low-key and actually made the points "appear" to be important.
And there are plenty more who are fine with all of that... but just can't stand the way the U.S. audience screams every time anyone opens their mouth.
Widely considered to be inverted with "Sound Effects," which seemed to improve in hilarity when it changed from "Ryan makes sound effects for Colin" into "audience members make ridiculously bad sound effects for Colin and Ryan."
Unfortunate Implications: In the 2013 revival, the noticeably Southern Wilson Bethel makes a few references to drug use, and explained it with saying "I listen to a lot of rap music". Uuuuhh oh.
To be fair though, he may have simply just been implying that a lot of rap songs today mention various drugs, and that's how he knows of them.
Win the Crowd: Jeff Davis' first episode was decidedly underwhelming until a Scenes from a Hat bit "If people celebrated mundane events as if they were touchdowns", and Jeff stepped out. "It's a boy! Yeah!" and he spiked the "ball"at the ground. The audience broke into hysterical laughter and that alone made him stand out over many of the other rotating players.
Apparently Brad Sherwood took a little time to follow British pop culture when he debuted in the UK series, namedropping EastEnders before attempting emo-core Brit-pop in Song Styles. It worked out pretty well.
Wayne Brady's singing talent had already ensured himself some new fans in his debut in UK season 10... then he went along with Brad addressing him as "that guy with the microphone" during Daytime Talkshow, and busted out a massive-stadium-speakers voice impression that brought the house down.
The Woobie: In between Drew stating when they came back from a commercial "Welcome back to Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the show that gives Colin Mochrie a reason to live," to Chip actually making a drinking game out of all the times that they rip on Colin, it's hard not to see him as this.
Drew: "Oh man, never make fun of the popular, funny guy, that's the thing you shouldn't do."