Whose Line Is It Anyway 2013, The improvisational performers ofWhose Line Is It Anyway?are testing whether comic timing can stand the test of time. Nine years after their comedy series finished its run on ABC, Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles are back with a new version on CW (Tuesday, 8 ET/PT) and a new host, The Talk’s Aisha Tyler, who takes the seat once held by Drew Carey.
If they had any trepidation about rustiness – not to mention fears about remembering whose line it was, anyway – it went away quickly.
“When we were shooting, we were joking around saying it felt like everyone stepped out for lunch and came right back,” says Brady, 41, who hosts Let’s Make a Deal. “And I think that’s the coolest compliment that you could pay each other.”
The trio, stalwarts of the 1998-2004 network series (which later moved to ABC Family), will often be joined by a fourth improv comedian in a rotating spot that includes Gary Anthony Williams, Keegan Michael Key and Heather Ann Campbell. Glee’s Kevin McHale and The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan are among guest performers in the 12-episode season.
Based on improv games crafted by the show’s producers, along with suggestions solicited from the audience, the performers act out scenes on the spot, with no advance notice of the scenario. Many of the earlier series’ games return, along with some new ones, including a sideways game where performers act out a scene while lying on the floor with a camera shooting from above.
Since the series ended, the performers have generally gone their separate ways, but they often hear from Whose Line fans.
“We’ve toured different groups, and everywhere we go, people kept asking, ‘When is Whose Line coming back?’ ” Stiles, 54, says. “It just stuck in my mind that someday, somebody will bring it back, because people enjoy the show.”
The family-friendly fan base includes younger viewers who have watched older sketches on YouTube, the performers say.
“It’s interesting to be on the network where I could be the grandfather of every character on every other show,” Mochrie, 55, says of CW’s younger demographic.
He says those viewers may be looking for something different in comedy, and the unpredictable, rapid-fire Whose Line format provides entertainment for a broad audience.