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Whose Line Is It Anyway, the hilarious unscripted series that ran on ABC and ABC Family from 1998 to 2007, is back on the air. In honor of the return of one of television's funniest (and most unpredictable) shows, here’s a reminder of some of Whose Line’s greatest games. And, of course, because this is Whose Line, just remember that (to quote Mr. Carey and now Miss Tyler) "everything’s made up and the points don’t matter".
The set-up is simple; a performer (generally Colin) goes in front of a green screen, weather-man style. The other players must then make Colin guess what outrageous video is playing behind him. While there are truly funny games where Colin is in front of sports bloopers or old monster movies, by far the best Newsflash game was when Colin had to react to video of Colin himself. It’s like looking in a hilarious mirror….It all started with a badly timed bald joke indeed.
9. Scene To Rap
As you can tell from the upcoming entries on this list, I’m a sucker for any Whose Line game involving Linda Hall and Laura Taylor, the show’s musicians. This game involves the improvisers acting out a regular scene – except that the whole thing is done by spontaneous rap. Check out this version, where the already hilarious cast is joined by future Report host Stephen Colbert.
8. Song Titles
One of the most deceptively simple games on Whose Line, Song Titles asks the performers to carry on a scene while speaking only in song titles. It’s a fantastic way to test the improvisors quick wit and a terrific game to play at home too (especially if you don’t tell the people you’re playing with!) The quickest, wittiest and funniest game of Song Titles is this one, which Whose Line fans will know for starting the famed “Nice Pants!” running joke:
7. Three Headed Broadway Star
This game combines my love of the musical side of improvising and shows off just how in synch good performers need to be. Here, three people have to make up a song one word at a time. While a famous version of this game involves host Drew becoming derailed by a song about shoes, the Three Headed Broadway Star song that always pops into my head is “You’re My Butterstick,” an amazingly entertaining ditty that shows off the performers skills and just how hard this game really is.
6. Living Scenery / Sound Effects
OK, kind of a cheat I know but, hey, the numbers don’t matter right? Both of these games generally involve audience participation (or special guests) and both have produced two of the best Whose Line clips of all time. Who can forget the game where Colin and Ryan must act out a scene using Wayne and special guest Richard Simmons as all their props? Or what about the game where all of Ryan and Colin’s sound effects are made by two audience members who just happen to be a little mixed up when it comes to animal sounds? Hilarity ensues.
A popular game amongst Whose Line fans and an infamous one among the players, Hoedown was the finale for many memorable episodes. Another musical game, this one asks the performers to come up with rhyming verses (AABB style) in the style of an old fashioned hoedown. With topics such as puberty and drunk mothers, hilarious bits are sure to emerge. All of them are great, but the pinnacle must be their tribute to my favorite Whose Liner player, Colin, in the baldness hoedown.
A popular game among professionals and beginning improv students alike, Props asks the players to stretch their creativity while coming up with as many funny uses for a common item as possible. While we’d view them as a raft and an average pool noodle, in the hands of four great comics they become much, much more.
3. Let’s Make A Date
Based on a famed ‘60s dating game show, this one has the performers take on crazy personalities in order to woo the bachelorette (usually played by Brad or Chip) who must then guess who or what they are.
2. Scenes From A Hat
The quickest and most versatile game has the cast doing quick, one-sentence scenes based on audience suggestions. With limitless possibilities and amazingly quick, funny actors, Scenes From a Hat is the quintessential Whose Line game, especially when all-star Robin Williams joins in on the fun.
1. Greatest Hits
Ryan and Colin are my favorite part of “Whose Line” and, as you already know, I’m a fan of any game involving spontaneous song. That’s why this game, which involves R & C playing pitchman selling a complication set with songs sung by Wayne, is by far my favorite. There are many amazing outings of Greatest Hits, but the one that’ll keep you laughing for days is the one about college.