Whose Line was the most amazing gig for me. We started out doing six hybrid episodes, shot in America but with the British host. We ended up
doing 216 episodes over eight seasons with Drew Carey as the host. It was
the most fun, intense, crazy job I’ve ever had.
I've played lots of live improv with almost every improv group in Chicago and L.A. I got the audition through Ron West, who I knew from The Second City in Chicago, and had become a Whose Line producer. I’d played lots of live improv with almost every improv group in Chicago and L.A. I auditioned with Brad Sherwood and Wayne Brady, and we all got hired out of it.
When we started out, I was the only musician, but then they added Linda Taylor on guitar. Later on we also had horn players sometimes. I didn’t know Linda before she auditioned, but I could tell from the minute we started playing together that we were going to get along great. We've done lots of projects together since then.
We would tape over a three day weekend, and did tons of games that would later get cut into the shows. And yes, we were really improvising, but no, they’re not that funny all the time. The secret is in the editing. Some of the games would go well, some not so well; that’s the nature of improv. (And actually, if something went really badly, they would keep it, because that can be funny too!) And although we were good, the editing made us look more brilliant than we actually are.
Sometimes its was really hard to keep playing because I'd be laughing so hard. My very favorite Whose Line moment ever was during a game of Three Headed Broadway Star when Drew messed up and could not stop laughing.
We had lots of guest stars in later seasons. Richard Simmons was of course totally crazy! But my favorites were Sid Caesar, who was a perfect gentleman and flirted with Linda and I, and Florence Henderson, who we'd all I’d grown up watching on The Brady Bunch.
Can you send me the sheet music/MP3 file for the Hoe Down (or Irish Drinking Song)?
This is the question people ask me the most.
I’m sorry, but all the music on Whose Line is the property of the show, and they’ve chosen not to publish it, so it’s not available in any form.
However, I've created a 2 cd set, Improv Karaoke, which has tracks in different styles (including one similar to the Hoe Down) designed to be used for song improv. It also has demos, tips and pointers to help you get started. You can find out more at: www.improvkaraoke.com
What’s Drew really like?
Drew is a really great guy. He wants everyone on the set to have a great time. He’s hard-working, considerate, and very generous too.
I’m a musician and want to play for improv groups, how do I get started?
The best way is to immerse yourself in it. I’d suggest taking an improv class even if you don’t want to be an actor/improviser. It will help you get to know improvisers in your area, and teach you the basic elements of improv. Then start an improv group yourself, or ask an existing one if you can play with them. Most improv groups are thrilled to have a musician who wants to work with them. And study lots of different kinds of music, try to get a basic grasp of what makes a style of music (like blues or reggae) sound like that style.
Can you give me a phone number/e-mail address for Ryan/Drew/whoever my favorite is? I’m his biggest fan!
Not a chance.