When The CW first announced they were bringing back Whose Line is it Anyway? and that Aisha Tyler was going to be hosting, it was a bit of a bittersweet announcement. While thrilling to have such a creative, funny, original show back on air with fresh life breathed into it, it was hard to deny the disappointment that the comedienne was going to be sitting behind the desk doling out points rather than up on the stage performing alongside Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, and Ryan Stiles. But there was a method to the show’s madness, as the focus was really on re-creating as much of the magic of the original as possible, and that meant reserving those coveted core improv spots for those original cast members.
“This first run of the show, quite frankly, we just wanted to make sure all of the elements that people loved from the first run of the show were there. One of the things the co-creator and executive producers were lamenting was that we have less time in this iteration of the show: we have one more commercial break than they had on ABC. So it’s actually a shorter show, so giving points gets cut out of the show in favor of an extra game,” Tyler said when LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with her in Los Angeles.
“It was making sure we were hitting all the notes and giving people everything they knew and loved.
The CW just renewed Whose Line Is It Anyway? for a full second season, noting that the success of it this summer is also allowing the network to seriously consider more comedy projects across both scripted (sitcom) and comedy-reality. And now that there is a bit more room to play, so to speak, with an expanded second season, Tyler looks forward to mixing things up even more with games, guest stars, and perhaps even herself taking a spin in that fourth improver slot.
“My first acting class was improv, and I love improv, and I love being around other comedic minds, but I definitely watching these guys don’t think I could do it better than them! I love it, and I’d love to get in there and play with them…but they’re the best at what they do,” Tyler said.
If you’ve read Tyler’s most recent book (and really you should), you know she first really got the performing bug when creating a “Fratman” character in college to basically make fun of all of the guys whose duty it was to stand around and guard the taps at frat houses so that people weren’t drinking too much– not out of a sense of caring that people don’t get alcohol poisoning but because the frat house got billed for the beer, and girls like Tyler used to just wander in with friends to drink free beer any time they wanted. It was a character born out of her life then because he was the type of guy everyone knew. Nowadays, she undoubtedly has a well from friends, co-workers, and even her husband– but she pointed out it was not a well she would tap (no pun intended) for a show like Whose Line.
“It would be great to reprise Fratman!” She laughed when we brought it up. “And also come up with some new things. One of the great things about improv is it’s all about finding new ideas and new characters.
“Improv is about being in the moment and just focusing on what’s right in front of you, so it’s too tricksy to think ‘Let me break out this character.’ You just want to see what happens when you get up there. Improv and sketch are two different animals. I think improv informs sketch, and obviously when you’re doing sketch there’s some improvisation, but when you’re up there, you can’t be thinking about pulling something out of your pocket.”
The first season of Whose Line boasts and eclectic group of rotating guest stars, most of them stars of other CW series that range from genre to drama. Here they get to show off their comedic chops but also their ability to think on their feet. Tyler was perhaps most impressed with Wilson Bethel from Hart of Dixie who she called a “lovely actor…who was so game and so present and really there to play and adorable, just adorable.”
As for season two? Tyler already has some ideas on who show mosey on over to the improv hot seats, and something tells us you’ll agree wildly with her ideas:
“Oh God, Jared Padalecki would be amazing! Jared Padalecki would be funny; he is shockingly funny. I just had him again on my podcast, and he would be fantastic. Misha Collins, actually, would be great, too,” Tyler said.
“I would take anybody from How I Met Your Mother, [too]. We could probably just poach from other CBS Studios shows, and you could throw a dart at them and hit a ton of funny people.”
Whose Line Is It Anyway? airs on The CW on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. A 22-episode second season will be coming next year. Who do YOU want to see guest star? Let us know in the comments below!
Be sure to stay tuned for our ‘On Writing’ column with Tyler about her book coming soon, too!
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