To some it was just a show that was always re-running on ABC Family, to others it was something special, comedy that didn’t need to spell itself out to the audience on why it’s funny. Now, almost seven years after its cancellation, the show is set to return, replacing the old host, Drew Carey, with Aisha Tyler, of Archer fame.
It was a simple and modest premise; rather than film sketches and scenes written prior like an SNL knockoff, the performers would be given a basic story to run along and act out the scene on the fly. There would be no sets, and props would be used minimally. What this meant is that the audience had to imagine the performers in the situations they described themselves to be in. Though gimmicky, that’s how the show managed to persevere for so long. Like a good horror film, by making the audience fill in what it was missing themselves, it connected to a broader audience because what’s scary, or funny, in our own minds creates a different, more intense experience. Beyond that, seeing people act ridiculously, pretending to be Richard Simmons, Carol Channing, melting snow men, or fire trucks is just funny in its own right. And if that fails, a lot of it is just dick jokes.
Though cancelled for a decline in viewership, it sprang back to life thanks to the advent of posting clips, collections, and sometimes even full episodes on Youtube. Any random video involving the cast is likely to have at least ten thousand views, with the full, hour long compilations of sketches and games garnering views in the millions. With that, the show found new life on the GSN, reincarnated as Drew Carey’s Improv-a-ganza, filmed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The show started in April, 2011. And though it collected all the old performers from its father series, it was rather lackluster and cancelled after forty episodes.
This is a return to the show’s roots. Unlike the show on GSN, this will likely be a smaller production, with fewer cast members rotating in and out, and thus will be more focused and refined. In any event, it’s exciting to think of what new laughs could be had, songs could be sung, and games could be played on this reprisal of the classic show. Maybe I’m optimistic, but by taking a moment to look on Youtube for any clip of the show would likely yield huge laughs from anyone watching. So find somewhere that isn’t too public or where laughing out loud would be unseemly, and watch an episode or two. And if you’ve already taken the time to watch the popular clips already, rejoice in the fact that new ones are likely going to be made. Whose Line Is It Anyway? is set to premiere this summer on The CW.