Reviews: Whose Line Is It Anyway

Pass the tissues...

Because this is a show to make you laugh until you cry. Be warned that, if you're sensitive to that sort of thing, it is in no way PC. The humor often pokes fun at, well, everyone and everything, but it's not meant to cruel and at anyone's expense. What's more, it's clear the performers are having fun.

If it's your thing, one of the funniest shows out there. (American Version)

If you like improv, this is hilarious.

  • Plot: None. It's an improvisational comedy show, meaning the performers make up everything as they go, based on suggestions.

  • Content: Lots of Innuendo and stuff like that.

  • The Good:
    • Wayne is an amazing singer. The musicians are also incredibly talented.
    • Colin and Ryan are consistently hilarious, and are very good at taking just about anything and making it entertaining. They're also very good at twisting the suggestions, and are very good with their meta-humor, as well as interacting with the audience.
    • The show as a whole is good about chucking in all sorts of outtakes, many of which are great.
    • A lot of the guest stars are very entertaining.
    • Sometimes even the audience and camera people get involved, which is (at least in my mind) when the show is at it's best.

  • The Bad:
    • Occasionally the guest performer won't quite measure up to the regulars, which can slow down he games sometimes.
    • If you aren't a fan of this type of comedy, you'll probably wonder what all the fuss is about.
    • Depending on your point of view, Drew Carey's hosting style could be seen as a negative, although I don't really mind him.

  • Overall: Whose Line is thoroughly entertaining if you enjoy improv. If not, then won't find it as funny. But either way, if you have any sense of humor at all you should at least check it out. By which I mean go to the Whose Line Is It Anyway Crowning Moment Of Funny page and watch some of the videos.

    • Note: I have not seen the UK version, though I plan to get around to it. I'm judging this show on it's own merits, not in comparison to its predecessor.

Both British and American versions

WLIIA is at its best perhaps the epitome of improv humour. Performers come up with gags on the spur of the moment that I, for one, still have rattling around my skull as Memetic Mutation years later. Not every episode will be equally funny, but the overall standard is excellent.

So let's go to the elephant in the room: the UK vs US versions. Firstly I think people ignore the fact that the UK version was very different at its beginning and end: its later series were more similar to the US version than to its own early series (which were a bit too slow-paced and highbrow). The late UK series are my personal favourite, including the one transitional series that was filmed in Hollywood but with Clive Anderson as host. Those episodes have Colin, Ryan, Greg and other great performers, but also an audience that doesn't treat anything happening to anyone as "And I Must Scream" and Clive Anderson, who is IMO a superior host. Drew Carey isn't a bad host but he can't keep up with the performers and so we just feel bad for him when they mock him, whereas Anderson could give as good as he got and thus we enjoyed it when he got taken down a peg or two.

Really, though, the show is always at the very least watchable, and often laugh-out-loud hilarious, regardless of the version.