In the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was accurate: Everything is fabricated, and the points themselves are irrelevant. When it comes to improv, that non sequitur is a good rule of thumb; the minute you start thinking too hard is the time when your act will break apart. But, in the midst of a worldwide epidemic and the financial turmoil that it causes, the ludicrous Tao that Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, Drew Carey, and Ryan Stiles espoused rang true.
Whose line is it anyway games?
During its initial run on American ABC from 1998 to 2004, the game show Whose Line was shown for a total of eight seasons. The event gave many of us our first look at the structure of improvised theater, as well as our first indication that improvised theater was even a possibility. Nothing much has changed in the intervening sixteen years since the program was first canceled.
Whose line is it anyway games? Whose Line is still the guiding light for hundreds of overweight white males dressed in sloppy, baggy Hawaiian shirts who want to go into improv. The church of Carey guaranteed them nothing more than an unwavering commitment to dorkiness for all of eternity. For whatever reason, it seemed like it was a life that was spent productively.
Whose line is it anyway games? It means that this is the definitive order of every Whose Line Is It Anyway game that has ever been played. A few words of caution: We are only going to look at the games that were played on the American version of the program at the time when it was initially broadcast. It rules out not just the British and Australian adaptations, but also the one that was produced by the CW.
In addition, the game had to be played at least three times before it could be considered for inclusion. This ensured that there were no one-offs, failed experiments, or games that were a complete failure. Whose line is it anyway games? There are also other actions that are so similar in nature that they did not merit their own category; for example, “Film Dub” and “International Film Dub” fall under the same category because of their similarities.
That still leaves us with 49 games, which is a testament to the insane breadth that Whose Line covered throughout its first run. Have fun with the list, and keep in mind that even if the planet were to become completely contaminated with poison, you would still have Colin Mochrie imitating a dinosaur forever.
49. “Hoedown” – Whose line is it anyway games?
The “Hoedown” part was terrible. I apologize. I know Whose Line finished practically every show with it, and as a result, the game became semi-holy ground in the same way that so many overblown rituals became inevitable aspects of life. But, honestly, “Hoedown” was the least amusing portion of every show. Is that its sole redeeming grace? Each of the participants had a deep dislike for the “Hoedown” as well.
48. “Irish Drinking Song” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Irish Drinking Song,” like “Hoedown,” was an episode-ending formality, and it wasn’t particularly hilarious, but I give it a little advantage since it was a bit funnier on average, and it was a lot less annoying than that stupid “Hoedown” soundtrack.
47. “Press Conference” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Press Conference,” one of Whose Line’s lesser-known hidden-identity games, had one player address a group of reporters with no clue who they were meant to be portraying. (In the photo above, Colin is the Queen of England.) It’s good, but it never held a candle to the gods like “Party Quirks” or “Let’s Arrange a Date.”
46. “Title Sequence” – Whose line is it anyway games?
The notion of “Title Sequence” was a touch too lofty for its own good. Half of the group improvised a theme song for a fictitious 1970s sitcom, while the other half were assigned two audience figures (in this instance, a professional wrestler and Mel Gibson) to pantomime along with the music. So much is going on! Eliminate one of these aspects, and the game improves significantly.
45. “Sportscasters” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Sportscasters” is an excellent idea for an improv game: Two players participated in a tournament, while the other two provided expert analysis. In reality, though, it frequently falls flat. Maybe because poor dad jokes from John Madden characters aren’t really engaging, even in parody.
44. “Scene to Rap” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Scene to Rap” was firmly engrained in that dreadful late-’90s age when the mere thought of “white people rapping” was evidently super-funny and entirely worth making a joke out of. As a result, all of these drawings seem a bit old in hindsight. Ryan Stiles, on the other hand, always gave it his best.
43. “Award Show” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Award Show” was one of Whose Line’s heavier-duty skits, since it needed an actual prop. (In this instance, an Oscars lectern.) The team improvised a little Oscars parody, which was decent but never quite as brilliant as earlier all-hands-on-deck efforts like “Crazy Newscasters.”
42. “Daytime Talk Show” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Daytime Talk Show” was at its finest when Greg Proops appeared on the show, as he seamlessly transformed into a Dr. Phil-esque liaison. To be honest, a typical day of lousy daytime TV is funnier than made-up daytime TV. As a result, this game was doomed from the outset.
41. “Action Replay” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Action Replay” was featured in just six episodes of Whose Line? The fundamental notion was that two players performed a completely traditional improv scene, while the other two stood off to the side of the stage wearing noise-cancelling headphones. After that, those actors substituted in and tried to recreate the scene without hearing any of the language. (In one part, a scene about skinny-dipping in a lake abruptly morphs into a scene about an auto mechanic’s business.) It was more of a sociological experiment than a piece of television entertainment, but there aren’t many greater examples of the adaptability of the Whose Line group.
40. “Bartender” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Bartender” was a stagecraft musical interlude in the midst of an improv act. Wayne Brady, as always, performed the heavy lifting from behind the bar, leading the other musicians into unexplored musical terrain that only he could completely master. It’s all right! It would have also been preferable if Brady had been the only one engaged.
39. “Song Titles” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Song Titles” was essentially a party game in which the performers acted out a scenario only using song titles. Admittedly, the sketches are brief, but it was amusing to see Whose Line cast members try to outlast each other with the ’70s soft music that the typical studio audience is acquainted with.
38. “Infomercial” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Infomercial” was a close relative of “Props,” in which two actors utilize those plastic thingamajigs to market a product, such as an anti-snoring device. It may be a bit more streamlined, but I like the craziness of its predecessor.
37. “Themed Restaurant” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Whose Line? provided answers to many lifetime curiosities, such as “What would a Steven Spielberg-themed restaurant look like in practice?”
36. “Alphabet” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Alphabet” seemed more like a circus performance than an improv game. The performers were required to begin each speech with the succeeding letter of the alphabet, which resulted in more blunders and catastrophes than almost any other game on this list. Drew Carey seemed to be in these skits all the time, which is ironic given how bad he was at them.
35. “Hey, You Down There!” – Whose line is it anyway games?
One of the most often satirized kinds of media in comedy is the wacky staff training film. Everything from The Office to SpongeBob SquarePants has tried. “Hello, You Down There!” was Whose Line’s take on this classic genre, and it succeeded mostly because Greg Proops had a great Mr. Moviefone voice.
34. “Hollywood Director” – Whose line is it anyway games?
The most important message from this game was that Colin Mochrie may be one of the finest directors of all time.
33. “Film, TV, and Theater Styles” – Whose line is it anyway games?
At the drop of a hat, the Whose Line cast would transform a skit into a Western, romance, or thriller. “Film, TV, and Theater Styles” was never a Whose Line classic, but it did push Greg Proops to do a Big Bird imitation, for which we are thankful.
32. “Multiple Personalities” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Many Personalities” was one of Whose Line’s few celebrity-focused games, with each object in the sketch having a “personality” tied to it. (That is, if you take up the binoculars, you will transform into Liberace.) It’s a good game that’s hampered by numerous dated pop-culture allusions. Remember when Rain Man and Braveheart were popular improv show picks?
31. “Film Dub” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Which Line is the MST3K of Whose Line games. Drew Carey played some poor public-access video on a TV screen and let the participants pipe in their own voices over it. “Film Dub” was a step up in production value for a program as aggressively lo-fi as Whose Line, and it provided for a great stopgap between the more typical improv.
30. “Fashion Models” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Greg Proops is an excellent impersonator. He’s unflappable in “Fashion Models,” a game in which the other participants look for humor in, example, a Nascar-themed runway display. But, Proops handled all of the hard lifting. There was no Whose Line performer who was more underappreciated.
29. “Improbable Mission” – Whose line is it anyway games?
The Whose Line backup band’s performance on “Improbable Mission” was some of their most important work on the program. Laura Hall and Linda Taylor’s wonderfully ridiculous espionage theme provided just the right amount of cheese to an otherwise very standard Mission Impossible spoof. Whose Line should have done more of this.
28. “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Shout out to “Whose Line” for having the most meta name in the franchise’s history. The actors performed a scenario, and at one point, they opened an envelope containing a random snippet of speech scrawled down by an audience member, which they had to improvise around. Improv as a genre issues with beginnings and ends, and it was evident that having an apogee to strive for benefitted the players.
27. “Questions Only” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Another famous improv game that is more of a stunt than a comedy. Everyone in the situation could only speak in question. Everyone in the situation could only speak in ques Do you like seeing Whose Line cast members freeze up? Does it help you feel more at ease with your own flaws? Yes, exactly.
26. “Two Line Vocabulary” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Is it simpler or more difficult to do an improv act with just two lines? That’s the question Whose Line posed in “Two Line Vocabulary,” and we’ve all discovered that folks like Ryan Stiles can elicit a wide variety of emotions with the query “When’s lunch?”
25. “Quick Change” – Whose line is it anyway games?
In “Quick Change,” one player stood offstage and could compel any other participants to change their line, showing once and for all that improv is at its funniest when a cast member is pushed into their third or fourth idea.
24. “Number of Words” – Whose line is it anyway games?
The comedy of “Number of Words,” a game in which each player is only permitted to talk in sentences of three words or less, was in seeing brilliant individuals try to abridge themselves. It’s extra funny when someone has to turn a basic message like “Stop!” or “No!” into seven words.
23. “Helping Hands” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Helping Hands” was a big-ticket, main-event Whose Line game that didn’t come around very frequently, but when it did, someone was undoubtedly having wine thrown on them.
22. “Film Noir” – Whose line is it anyway games?
To be honest, there are few things more amusing than Colin Mochrie turning toward the camera and giving a dead serious soliloquy. “Film Noir” was a game that was created to recreate the precise moment again and over.
21. “Worst in the World” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“World’s Worst” was the sibling game to “Scenes From a Hat,” in which players took turns portraying the world’s worst chiropractor, veterinarian, or whatever. It’s good, although we prefer Drew Carey’s Uncle Sam hat for some of the more bizarre perspectives.
20. “Stand, Sit, Lie” – Whose line is it anyway games?
The visual mayhem of “Stand Sit, Lay,” in which each of the three participants must be standing, sitting, or lying down, was Whose Line at its funniest. Everyone is always jockeying for position in order to avoid breaking the rules. Colin Mochrie is forced to slump to the ground at one point in the video above after recognizing he’s been trapped in a bind. No other game on the program caused greater havoc.
19. “Superheroes” – Whose line is it anyway games?
The Whose Line ensemble constructed the worst version of the Avengers ever in “Superheroes,” with superhero names like Captain Hummingbird, The Narrowly-Escaped-Death Child, and Caught-in-a-Wind-Tunnel Boy invented by the cast. Put the Whose Line Is It Anyway cast in the MCU!
18. “Sound Effects” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Colin and Ryan were fantastic at “Sound Effects,” a game in which one cast member utilized their voice to produce all of the creaks, pops, and splats of an otherwise mimed scenario. The couple worked well together on stage, but their connection, interaction, and mischievousness were still visible when one of them filled in the quiet from the back.
17. “Change Letter” – Whose line is it anyway games?
You know the Blackalicious song “Alphabet Acrobatics”? This is the equivalent in improv. One letter in each drawing must be changed with a different letter. Instead of “L,” substitute “P.” That was a nightmare turned Whose Line classic. “Change Letter” was only played four times! That was a tragedy.
16. “Newsflash” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Newsflash” made excellent use of substandard green-screening. One player stood in front of some beamed-in film, while the other participants dropped indications about what that material may be. This game gets additional points for having the most postmodern moment in Whose Line history, with Colin Mochrie standing in front of video of… Colin Mochrie is a Scottish actor.
15. “Dead Bodies” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Dead Bodies” was both a fantastic improv notion and an audience member’s one chance in life to be manhandled by Colin Mochrie. This game earned its spot in the Whose Line pantheon for its comic talents as much as its wish-fulfillment possibilities.
14. “Three-Headed Broadway Star” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Three-Headed Broadway Star” is maybe the most well-known Whose Line game from the first run of the program. Wayne Brady could make up a whole album if he wanted, but when forced to work together and sing one word of an improvised song at a time, it was always a total train disaster. Nonetheless, sometimes a game known for its calamities becomes a fan favorite.
13. “Song Styles” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Since there have been a million variants of “Song Styles” throughout the years, I’m lumping together additional games like “Motown Group,” “Duet,” and “Boogie Woogie Sisters” into this category for the hawks out there. The idea was the same across all of them: Wayne Brady, a force of nature, created a song on the fly to serenade one audience member in a genre of music selected at random from the audience. Was it amusing? In a way. The purpose of “Song Styles” was to show how talented Brady is. As a result, the game has one of the longest runs in Whose Line history.
12. “Hats” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Take a wig from a box and tell a joke with it. That has been Comedy 101 since the beginning of time. Of course, the Whose Line cast is a master of the genre. The following video is a 50-minute collection of “Hats” jokes; you could watch it on repeat for the duration of your quarantine.
11. “If You Get What I Mean” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“If You Know What I Mean” was the first time many of us learnt about innuendo as youngsters in the 1990s. The segment has Whose Line actors creating the ideal underhanded come-ons, which left me perplexed while my father cackled on the sofa behind me. Thank you, Whose Line, for the sex education I wasn’t getting in school.
10. “Dubbing” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Dubbing” was the riskiest Whose Line game. Carey called on one audience volunteer to stand in the midst of the skit as another cast member dubs in all of their lines offstage using a microphone. Usually, improv surprise visitors are helpless victims, but in this occasion, the volunteer had to truly deliver. That seems to work out more frequently than not.
9. “Moving People” – Whose line is it anyway games?
To me, the Platonic ideal of Whose Line is two unfortunate audience members dragging Colin and Ryan’s rag doll limbs about as the actors improvise a spaghetti Western with ease. All of the “Moving People” drawings should be placed on the next probe to exit our solar system.
8. “Show-Stopping Number” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Show-Stopping Number” was one of the better Whose Line music games, perhaps because it was paired with a real skit. Carey buzzed while two actors performed out a scenario, then they had to turn the final thing they uttered into a little Broadway musical interlude. Colin and Ryan were frequently overachievers here, with ragtime zeal that “Hoedown” couldn’t match.
7. “All-Time Best Hits” – Whose line is it anyway games?
I’m not sure if this is heresy, but the funniest portions of “Best Hits” for me were when Colin and Ryan came up with disorientingly dumb song titles and genre categories. The Wayne Brady tunes themselves I could do without. I simply want to watch Colin annihilate the world with another perplexing joke.
6. “Let’s Make a Date” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“The Dating Show” is one of the all-time great improv-show concepts, with literally hundreds of improv evenings around the nation reproducing and repeating it. Thank thanks to Whose Line for disseminating the formula throughout the globe.
5. “Props” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Props” was similar to “Scenes From a Hat” in that the performers would alternate between atomized one-liners. The only difference is that in this game, they were delivering such gags with the assistance of some rubbish uncovered backstage by the production staff. It was fascinating to see Colin Mochrie pull two dozen jokes out of a single scrap of plastic.
4. “Party Oddities” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Party Quirks” was the clear GOAT of all Whose Line games with a secret identity. Everyone knows what’s going on when a group of quirky individuals arrive to a home party, except for the cast member portraying the host. It was particularly surprising how frequently one cast member correctly identified those characters, given that some of them were as cryptic as “a wombat trapped in a lighthouse.”
3. “Living Landscape” – Whose line is it anyway games?
In 2003, “Living Scenery” was responsible for maybe the greatest Whose Line performance of all time. Ryan and Colin dragged an athletic Richard Simmons and Wayne Brady about in more provocative ways until it seemed like the program was ready to be canceled. Thanks to Simmons for being such a good sport and elevating “Living Scenery” to the top of our list.
2. “Strange Newscasters” – Whose line is it anyway games?
“Weird Newscasters” was the game’s cornerstone. It just took the actors five minutes to create a weird local news broadcast. It appeared to appear in every episode, it involved the whole group, and Drew Carey assigned brilliantly ludicrous parts, such as “Crazy Hitchhiker Taking a Ride With the Anchor,” to each of his actors. Pull up an episode of Whose Line is it? right now. Isn’t there something lacking if “Weird Newscasters” wasn’t at the top? Don’t you think you need to witness a Wayne Brady sportscaster schtick to be entirely satisfied?
1. “Scenes From a Hat” – Whose line is it anyway games?
Whose Line drawings run the 100-yard sprint. “Scenes From a Hat” may not be the most visually appealing game on the list, but no episode felt complete without it. There are no gimmicks or schmaltz here, simply a bunch of good-to-great one-liners from some of the finest ever. It’s pure improv, performed by a show that will define the art form for years to come.
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