Whose Line Is It Anyway? is a short-form improvisational comedy show originating as a short-lived British radio programme, before moving to British television in 1988, where it was hosted by Clive Anderson. Following the conclusion of the British run in 1999, ABC began airing an American version, which was hosted by Drew Carey and which ran until 2007 and was later revived by The CW network in 2013, where it is currently hosted by Aisha Tyler.
Each version of the show consists of a panel of four performers who create characters, scenes and songs on the spot, in the style of short-form improvisation games, many taken from theatresports. Topics for the games are based on either audience suggestions or predetermined prompts from the host. The various games played on all versions include: "Three-Headed Broadway Star," "Living Scenery," "Hoedown," "Irish Drinking Song," "Party Quirks," "The Dating Game," "Scenes From a Hat," "Weird Newscasters" and "Infomercial."
Both the British and the American shows ostensibly take the form of a game show with the host arbitrarily assigning points and likewise choosing a winner at the end of each episode. However, the show lacks the true stakes and competition of a game show (by design). The "game show" format is simply part of the comedy.
Connections to MST3K
- One of the popular and often done games in both versions of the show is "Film Dub" where the performers must improvise a dub over an existing movie clip. Some of the clips shown were also from MSTied films including Night of the Blood Beast, Teenagers from Outer Space and The Brain That Wouldn't Die.
- Another often performed skit is "Green Screen" where one of the performers on the show must guess what video clip (visible to the audience but not the performer) is being shown behind them while two other performers give the guesser hints in the form of a breaking newscast fashion. While some of the clips have been from documentaries, risqué ads and video montages, it has also included infamous monster movie material including one from Gorgo.
- Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy and even Joel McHale follow many of the Whose Line? performers on their respective Twitter accounts.