Stars of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” returned to Madison last Thursday for a night of improv comedy and games. In front of a packed Overture Center theater, the four stars succeeded in giving the audience a one-of-a-kind, hilarious show.
In their series “Whose Live Anyway,” stars Ryan Stiles, Jeff Davis, Greg Proops and Joel Murray acted out scenes and played games using audience suggestions — making every performance new. The night at the Overture consisted of great recurring jokes, including a song about a woman who attended the show with her boyfriend, as well one of her three ex-husbands.
With making jokes about specific audience members, it’s easy for comedians to lay it on too much but the stars balanced it well, and the “butts of the joke” knew it was all in good fun. They even brought the boyfriend and ex-husband on stage together for the finale, taking turns telling a story one sentence at a time.
Another of the crowd favorite skits was a scene where Proops and Murray made up song names about a crowd suggested occupation, this time an occupational therapist. Then Davis and Stiles would make up the song on the spot with improv musician Bob Derkach.
Consisting of numerous different genres, it is truly amazing seeing the professionals make up the lyrics on-the-spot. The songs would be hilarious even if they were prepared, but the fact that it was all clearly on the spot made the skit even more incredible.
The night was great overall, but there were a few missteps, one of which was the groups’ common decision to go for easy targets, namely Trump and Kavanaugh. If done well, jokes about them can be great, but it’s no secret that they’re often butts of the joke in media, and it can appear to be a little lazy.
I give it a pass, as it’s improvised, but these jokes noticeably got fewer laughs than other bits and even some audible groans in the crowd.
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Improv comedy is really not like anything else. It is truly incredible seeing a group’s level of wit firsthand, unfiltered and brand new. While there were a few jokes that fell flat, the “Whose Live Anyway?” stars’ wit was on its A-game in the Overture. It would be smart to buy tickets to any future show of theirs.