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Five Perfect Guest Stars For CW’s New Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler

The improvisational comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway, a U.K. import that last aired on American television in 2004, is being resurrected this summer on The CW. I wasn’t too psyched about the revival until I saw the new host is Aisha Tyler, who voices Lana on Archer and co-hosts The Talk. It’s a welcome update to the show, which usually only featured one female comedian or one non-white comedian at a time. Much as Whose Line made me giggle from time to time, it usually reached for the most grandma-friendly humor possible. The main three castmates from the Drew Carey years will still be on hand: Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady. They’ll be joined each week by a guest comic.

Past guests have included regulars like Linda Taylor, Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood, plus celebrities like Kathy Griffin, Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Colbert and Robin Williams. Some guests were better than others; some sketches bombed while others were funny. But looking back at some sketches on YouTube, the whole concept seems wildly outdated. There are a lot of moments in which simply saying the word “gay” is met with gales of laughter from the audience. If the new Whose Line really wants to change things up, there are a few guest stars who should be added to the list ASAP.

louis ck

Guest: Louis C.K.

Best sketch: Sound Effects, the game where members of the audience make all the sound effects for the actors as they play out a scene.

Louis C.K.’s isn’t much of a physical comedian, but his ability to make something funny out of nothing is unmatched. I’d love to see his dry, grown-up humor mixed in with the absurdity of the Whose Line crew. As we’ve seen, when Louis is uncomfortable, he only gets funnier.

alison brie2

Guest: Alison Brie

Best sketch: Film, TV or Theater styles, the sketch where the actors have to change up the style of the sketch (anime, musical, horror).

Alison Brie already played out about a thousand and one film styles over the last four seasons of Community. Brie is a serious actress, but not afraid to make herself look like a fool (as in Community’s last Christmas episode). Also, the girl can sing.

neil patrick harris

Guest: Neil Patrick Harris

Best sketch: Song Styles, the sketch in which Wayne Brady serenades a member of the audience in the song style of the audience’s choice.

Look, I know this is supposed to be Wayne Brady’s moment in the sun, but NPH is certainly qualified to sing a duet with him. For one thing, NPH is a former Broadway star. For another, Brady and Harris have played brothers on How I Met Your Mother to hilarious results.

Community

Guest: Danny Pudi

Best sketch: Mission Impossible, the sketch where actors have to perform a mundane task (like washing a car) as though it were a covert-ops mission.

Pudi, like Brie, has transformed himself for a variety of Community episodes to hilarious result. Give him the opportunity to morph into a secret agent, and I genuinely think he’ll do something unexpected and funny.

Aasif Mandvi

Guest: Aasif Mandvi

Best sketch: Press Conference, the sketch were one actor plays a press secretary while the others grill him on a ridiculous event.

On The Daily Show, Mandvi will turn to the camera and say something so stupid with such absolute conviction that you can’t help but crack up. The guy is fantastic, and I’d love to see more of his humor outside of his Daily Show beat.

It’s hard for me to imagine sketch shows thriving in a world of single-camera comedies. Right now, comedy trends toward the weird, the absurd and the severely uncomfortable. (See: Louie and Girls.)

It’s possible audiences will respond well to something a little safe, a little retro — something trivial and goofy. I’m hopeful that casting a star from a truly weird comedy like Archer will push everyone to up their game on Whose Line and make the show a success. With any luck, this new Whose Line will be the goofy, lovable sketch show we know it can be — plus a little bit of modern edge.

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Comments

  • spider jerusalem

    All of these are perfect. 

  • LukeM

    Agreed. BTW, the British version of the show was much better because Clive Anderson was a much better as a host then Drew Carey. Carey was ok at best, but usually brought the show down because his improve was crap. I am really looking forward to this and NPK and Brady was be AWESOME! Tyler is a great choice.

  • Bill Reed

    I demand Paul F. Tompkins and Jason Mantzoukas.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7DLZKO4LXIM46LCUZ6SQQB44QI Pedro Bear

    As long as Colin Mochrie walks like a dinosaur I’ll be happy.

  • EnnisEllis

    Glad someone’s bringing it back. I miss the UK version still. Wish Channel 4 over here would bring it back, but by the end it was Colin & Ryan every week and if they’re doing the US version again, well, I don’t know who the regulars would be now.

    BBC2 did do a similar sort of show a couple of years back (I forget what it was called now) which sadly didn’t seem to take off, but some of the regulars on that would be perfect to take over on a revived WLIIA? (Laura Solon, Greg Davies, David Armand, Humphrey Ker)…

    But I digress, hope the US relaunch does well – I’m sure one of the satellite channels over here will show it at some point.

  • Trey

     oh my god yea!!!!!

  • Doc

    “I thought this was a grandma show so I know how to make the people who’ve been calling for it’s return happy. We need a long legged blonde with a tennis racket.” – this article. And irony.

  • Anonymous

    These guys are all funny, but the question is “can they improvise”

  • The Ed Carden

    First off, I think that you are confusing Improv Comedy and Sketch Comedy. The bits on Whose Line are called “games.” The word “Sketch” implies a comedic scene that has been written and rehearsed.

    Secondly, while all the performers you mentioned are very funny, only Danny Pudi has actually been trained in Improv comedy. This makes a much bigger difference than many people might expect. Improv performed at a high level either relies on the performers familiarity with working with one another or relies on the individual Improviser’s training and experience. Just because someone is funny does not mean they will be a good improviser. Any improviser will tell you that there is a lot more to creating a successful scene than just coming up with funny lines or physical bits.

    Sorry to get all comedy nerd on you, but these things are just true.

  • Mai

    Hamish! The australian who was sometimes on the British tv improv sketch show Thank god your here

  • Julie

    Misha Collins too… not just because he’s Castiel on CW’s Supernatuarl but I’m pretty sure they could have a few fun times with his guest appearance on Nip Tuck

  • Cassie

    I would love to see Supernatural’s Misha Collins show up at some point. It would certainly be different from what he’s used to, but if you watch any interview with the guy, he’s freaking hilarious. His quick wit would only lead to more hilarity.