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Students attribute love of improv to “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

Photo by Photo via wikipedia.com

Photo by Photo via wikipedia.com

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When it comes to comedic television, plenty of people have personal favorites. Some prefer sitcoms like”The Big Bang Theory,” while others prefer traditional comedy like “The Office.” However, the hilarity of sketch comedy is seldom denied. From “The Three Stooges” to “Monty Python” to “SNL,” sketch comedy has been a consistent force to be reckoned with on prime-time comedy television.

An iconic sketch comedy, “Whose Line is it Anyway?,” is an improv show consisting of four performers and a host. The show first became popular in England. The American version on ABC has run for a long time and gained notoriety and multiple Emmy awards. Featuring Drew Carey as the host, along with two regulars, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles, “Whose Line is it Anyway?” consisted of short segments labeled as “games,” where the host would ask the performers to improv their way through various scenes and activities.

Improv is a form of comedy in which jokes, visual gags and various entertainment are made up on the spot, usually bound by the constraints of a “game” or scene.

Though the original “Whose Line?” ended in 2004, the program was recently revived in 2013, and has been going strong since.

Recently, the team from “Whose Line?” has gone on tour, and is coming to Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. for a whole new show. The show is expected to sell out.

The cast will be: Ryan Stiles, the only returning regular from the American show; Greg Proops, a comedian who was a regular for the show in the UK; Jeff B. Davis, another comedian who was a recurring member of “Whose Line?” and a well-known face in the improv scene; and Joel Murray, an American actor well known for his roles in “Mad Men” and other television shows.

Michael Nicholas, a junior in the College of Communication, theatre arts major and long-time fan of “Whose Line?,” is excited about the show coming to Milwaukee.

“I’d love to see them perform live, because they’re some of the funniest and smartest people alive,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas has been watching “Whose Line?” for 10 years. He watched the original show when it aired on ABC, and then watched reruns.

“I still watch old ‘Whose Line?’ videos on YouTube for fun, or for when I need to sharpen my wit a bit,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas attributes where he is now in part to the classic TV show.

“’Whose Line?’ has been my single biggest inspiration to date, actually,” Nicholas said. “I did high school improv for my freshman and sophomore years.”

Nicholas found a passion for performing rather quickly and decided to act in plays and musicals.

“Now I’m a theatre major in college and I feel like I’ve really found what I was meant to do,” Nicholas said.

He plans to pursue his options after college, and some of those options could include improv, specifically, taking classes at The Second City, a school that teaches improvisation and sketch comedy.

Nicholas said his favorite cast member from the original show is Ryan Stiles.

“He’s definitely a role model for me,” Nicholas said.

James Harvey, a junior in the College of Communication, bought tickets back in July for the upcoming performance. He wasn’t a fan of the television show until he was a senior in high school. At the time, Harvey was in a high school improv troupe, so the show appealed to him.

His favorite cast member is Colin Mochrie.

“He’s an amazing improvisational comedian,” Harvey said.

The show should be about 90 minutes of improv, guest participation and fun.

“Improv is meant to be experienced in person, and I can’t wait to see it,” Harvey said.

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