Saturday, June 17, 2017

Beyond Whose Line, Part 1: Drew Carey Productions

                The most famous Improvisational comedy show of the last 20 years, the US Version of Whose Line is it Anyway? originally ran from 1998 to 2004 on ABC, with unreleased previously recorded episodes premiering on ABC Family from 2005 to 2007.  The show is enjoying a revival on the CW, with a fifth season on that network (hosted by Aisha Tyler), which premiered on May 29, 2017.  After Whose Line ended, Drew Carey, the host of the show, looked for ways to continue to perform with the cast members.  Here are three shows Drew Carey did with Whose Line cast members.
                While Whose Line was still on the air, Drew Carey did a live Pay-Per-View special in 2001 called Drew Carey’s Improv All-Stars for Showtime Entertainment Television.  The live show, which utilized some of the Whose Line games but also introduced new ones, as well having Drew Carey, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops, Kathy Kinney, Chip Esten from Whose Line, and new performers Sean Masterson and Julie Larson, with Laura Hall providing music.  From there, Carey and the Improv All-Stars would tour occasionally, the most frequent being after Whose Line ended production in 2003.  In 2005, Drew Carey and the Improv All-Stars went on a 37 city nationwide tour, called the Green Screen Tour.  While Carey and the Improv All-Stars have not toured together for quite a while, smaller groups from the All-Stars have formed their own live shows, which continue to tour today. 
                In the fall of 2004, Drew Carey returned to television with the CW premiere of Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show.  Drew Carey got the idea from a Whose Line game called “Moving People” where two audience members would move the bodies of the performers, and Carey thought it would be funny to see the cast members without the audience members.  Like Improv All-Stars, Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, featured more than just four players for each show.  The cast included Brad Sherwood, Colin Mochrie, Jeff Davis, Greg Proops, Chip Esten, Jonathan Mangum, Sean Masterson, Julie Larson and Kathy Kinney.  The performers would act in from a green screen and later, animators would be brought in to animate the scenes that the performers would act out.  The show also featured games not originally on the Whose Line show.  Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show premiered on October 7, 2004, before it was removed for poor rating with only five episodes aired, and the show was ultimately cancelled.  Drew Carey then took the remaining seven episodes to Comedy Central, which aired in the fall of 2005, giving a total of twelve episodes of Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show.
                In 2011, Drew Carey tried again to make a Improv Show, this time called Drew Carey’s Impov-A-Ganza.  This show was most like the live tour, with some games featured on Whose Line and some featured on Improv All-Stars and the Green Screen show.  The cast included Ryan Stiles, Jeff Davis, Chip Esten, Colin Mochrie, Jonathan Mangum, Greg Proops, Kathy Kinney, Brad Sherwood, Heather Anne Campbell, Sean Masterson, and Wayne Brady.  It was recorded at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Bob Derkach provided the music.  The show premiered on April 11, 2011 on the Game Show Network and aired weeknights until June 3rd, totaling forty episodes.  Although all forty episodes aired, GSN declined to renew for more episodes, leaving Drew Carey’s Impov-A-Ganza with only one season to its name.
                Drew Carey’s lesser known improv shows may not be as well known as Whose Line is It Anyway?, but still provide as many laughs as the classic show.  Check out these Whose Line-related Drew Carey television productions.Who