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Friday, January 20, 2012

In The Light#1: Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza

Will it be back soon?
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Improvisation comedy had returned in the form of Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza where host Drew Carey would perform with a host of other known improvisation comedians in front of a lively crowd at the MGM Theatre in Las Vegas. The show brought back the well-known hilarious cast of popular comedy show Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The works of Ryan Stiles, Brad Sherwood, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, Jeff Davis, Chip Esten and even guest appearances of Wayne Brady performed a variety of new and familiar games which depended heavily on audience participation and reaction. The audience was used repeatedly for suggestions for scenes depending on the game, and with some members even joining the performers on stage for Duet and Moving People games. Other familiar games included the works of Change (renamed New Choice), Two Line Vocabulary (branched out into Sentences) and the old favourite Greatest Hits.

The show started off well with large popularity and anticipation of the first few episodes where even controversial star Charlie Sheen made a shock appearance in a game himself. The musical styling of Bob DerKach proved important for the main background noises of scenes and even the main singing games, and even his own game known as Bob’s Call (similar to Scenes to Music) where each performer would have to begin to sing whenever DerKach decided to play.

The show even went to new extents with the self-proclaimed “the dangerous game in Improvisation comedy” of Mousetraps. This game forced two performers to create and act out a scene completely blindfolded with over one hundred live mousetraps scattered around the stage. To add to their woe and fear, they would perform bare foot as well to add to the amusement of the audience. Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie had performed this game several times in their own private shows and more commonly at the Montreal Comedy Festival where Sherwood stated that “any toes that fly out of the stage can be kept as a souvenir.”

The show began with high ratings but they dropped quickly with one episode aired in April, 2010 only bringing up 183,000 viewers for the episode. It was cancelled in August 2010 after a run of forty televised episodes with Drew Carey himself admitting the show would not return, for now, with season two. As a result many Facebook Groups and Youtube Channels have called for the return of the Improvised Comedy game show and they join forces with the already hundreds of websites and groups created for the return of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Each of the cast members continue doing their own comedy separately with the “Colin and Brad Show” still touring around the USA and “Whose Live Is It Anyway?” also following and touring around with various comedians. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed Improv-A-Ganza as I am a large fan of Improvisation Comedy and thought the show was important to keep it relevant in today’s world and television mediums. There has been little news since the cancellation of the show of what Drew Carey would attempt next, but with the amount of fans following still perhaps a new show is just around the corner.

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