Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Drew Carey hosts this improvisational comedy TV game-show featuring cast members (Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, Wayne Brady) from the original British series in a variety of different theater games and skits introduced by Carey. In one set-up on the pilot, strange hats led to impromptu video dating-service tapes. In other situations, they must compose song lyrics while they sing, impersonate people, imitate animals, and fabricate dialogue in the styles of various plays and films. Carey scores points in an equally spontaneous manner according to his own whims, and as he phrases it -- "nobody wins anything." The basic premise of this type of comedy are the theater games invented in the late '30s and early '40s by author-teacher Viola Spolin (1906-1994), who can be seen as "Mother" in Paul Mazursky's Alex in Wonderland (1970), evidently her only film role. Her behind-the-scenes workshops with the Second City improv group influenced satirical TV comedy (Saturday Night Live), and she led similar workshops for the casts of '70s sitcoms (Rhoda, Friends and Lovers). Whose Line Is It Anyway began as a British radio-comedy series over a decade ago on Radio 4, jumping to Channel 4 television a year later, followed by a 1988-1994 run in the U.S. on Comedy Central. Over 11 seasons, the British series won four CableACE Awards and an International Emmy. Taped in Hollywood, the Drew Carey-hosted version premiered to strong ratings August 5,1998 on ABC.