Whose Line Is It Anyway?

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The American cast. Spiraling in from top left: Chip, Greg, Brad, Linda, Colin, Ryan, Laura, Wayne, and Drew.

"Welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway?, the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter; that's right, the points are like notability on All The Tropes."

It's a successful Improv slash Sketch Comedy slash Panel Show that originated on British radio before moving to Channel 4 for a ten-year run. Clive Anderson hosted the show, in which four improvisational comics took suggestions from the audience to act out hilarious unscripted scenes. The performers could change radically with each episode, and because of the nature of the show, they could cobble together upwards of four episodes worth of material from one filming session.

An American version was created for ABC with Drew Carey as host that ran five seasons (though they filmed so much material that three more seasons were created after filming stopped). Because of the wider broadcasting of American television this show is better known than the British original. Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie were regular performers on the British version (who between them gave us much Ho Yay) and on this version they appeared in every episode. Ryan and Drew (who worked together on The Drew Carey Show) also provided the show with an ample supply of Foe Yay. From the second season onwards, Wayne Brady was added to the regular line-up, which essentially launched his career. The fourth player varied, the most common performers being Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops, Kathy Greenwood or Chip Esten.

The shift from mostly rotating players to mostly regulars with an occasional guest—which began in the later British series and became the standard for the American version - made the show's format less "experimental" and more formulaic, yet at the same time led to the players being more familiar with each others' foibles and led to richer humour. One example of how this changed the show is that in early series the quirks in "Party Quirks", the personas in "Let's Make a Date" and so on were very simple and one-dimensional (e.g. "a sperm"), while in later British series and especially the American version they became comically complex and specific (e.g. "horse whisperer calming and mounting the others who he thinks are wild stallions"), as the players knew each other well enough to discern more details in their performances.

Very much subject to a Broken Base, although the most you'll see these days are a few remarks about how they like or dislike which version or which host.

Despite this, many people on both sides find the two shows hilarious.

Another improv show, Drew Carey's Green Screen Show, ran for a season on the old WB channel. A second show featuring the cast and crew of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (minus Wayne Brady, but with Brady's Let's Make a Deal sidekick Jonathan Mangum), Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza, premiered in Spring 2011 on Game Show Network. And the old gang got back together on ABC in July 2012 with Trust Us With Your Life, a celebrity-based version of the improv game "Day In The Life", where the celebrity tells stories from their life, and the improvisers take it from there.

As to the show itself, if you don't feel like hunting through cable channels, basically every episode can be found at a fan-run repository, Whose Line Online.org. Alternatively, if you're in Britain you can watch the UK run legally on 4OD (albeit with ad breaks)


Tropes used in Whose Line Is It Anyway? include:
  • Accentuate the Negative: After a commercial break, Drew once said: "I'm Drew Carey, reminding you to call your cable operator and complain. Nothing specific, just in general."
  • Adaptation Expansion: Every now and then, certain sessions of earlier games get popular enough to be turned into games in their own right. Film Noir in particular started as a Scene to Music with appropriately noir-ish music and Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen's epic performance. Hollywood Director is essentially a meta variant of Film TV Theater Styles, and the lesser-played late entries Doo-Wop and Boogie-Woogie Sisters came from Wayne and Chip's "They Shot My Paw" and Wayne and Brad's "Roulette of Love" from two different Greatest Hits.
  • The Adjectival Man: in Weird Superheroes.
  • The Alcoholic: Parodied, most often during "Greatest Hits", when Colin will say something odd and Ryan will ask if Colin is drinking again.
    • Wayne can get this role either deliberately (as "an old drunk who used to do the sports" in Weird Newscasters) or by accident (he was supposed to be mimicking a carousel horse in Living Scenery, but Colin assumed he was being a drunkard). Unfortunately he winds up sounding like Bill Cosby...
    • Many jokes about what exactly was in Drew's mug were made about this.
  • Bob and Alice Johnson: Invoked often by the US players. This Scenes from a Hat session has a whole string of it.
    • Chances are, if Ryan's making up the name, the first name will be either Phil or Gary (Greg makes fun of this once during a UK credits reading), the last name either Phillips or Johnson, or, if he's playing Alphabet, "Xavier Hollander." (Rarer, but still present, was the female equivalent, Xaviera: Xaviera Hollander was the author of the autobiographical book The Happy Hooker and its sequels).
    • One of the funniest Home Shopping Channel games had Colin take advantage of this proclivity of Ryan's:

Ryan: It's four o'clock and it's...
Colin: ...time to shop!
Ryan: I'm Gary!
Colin: And I'm Gary too!

  • All Cheering, All the Time: Parodied in a game of "Scenes from a Hat" on the American version: "Moments When Cheerleading is Inappropriate".

Greg Proops: Grandpa's dead! Gimme a D! Gimme an E! Gimme -- Come on! Where's your enthusiasm?
Ryan Stiles: Vasectomy! Vasectomy! Clip clip clip!
Wayne Brady: Okay! Somebody's goin' to the 'lectric chair! Gonna fry! Gonna fry! Somebody's goin' to the 'lectric chair! Gonna -- Come on! (makes buzzing sounds) Say what?! Come on! Come on!

  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Played straight in a "Party Quirks" where Ryan played all the characters in a gay western. Every single character flirted with the host in some fashion.
  • All Men Are Perverts: When an attractive and/or famous woman appears on the show, Ryan and Colin usually flirt with her and if they're playing "Living Scenery", they'll spend the whole game finding suggestive poses to put her in. Wayne also sweet-talks some of the female audience members during the "Song Styles" game.
    • Audience members brought on stage to participate/be the victim in a sketch are overwhelmingly attractive young women.
    • Some of Drew's "The points don't matter" jokes are also fall under this category; he compared the points to the part of the Victoria's Secret catalog where they sell the pants as well as foreplay for men.
  • Almost Kiss: Occurs a few times. One of the funniest ones was an outtake where Drew and Colin's lips almost met, but they stopped in the nick of time.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Invoked by Ryan in a playing of "Hollywood Director": Colin announced the next style should be Gremlins. When Colin yelled action, Ryan bent down as if getting in a Gremlin car.
    • Similarly, in a playing of "Weird Newscasters", Ryan had the quirk of "The Rise and Fall of a 1940's Boxer". Instead of imitating the sport of boxing, Ryan acted like a boxer dog.
    • Likewise, in one British episode's "Film, TV & Theater Styles" game, "Japanese Noh Theatre" came up. One of the performers began energetically spouting mock Japanese in the style of a samurai film; the other simply looked at him and said "No!" repeatedly.
  • Ambiguous Gender: During an "Award Show" about the best bitter divorce, Ryan brought a random man from the audience on-stage and said he brought his lawyer with him. Colin remarked that it won't do any good, because he's been sleeping with the lawyer. After Ryan allowed the man to return to his seat, Ryan mumbled to Colin under applause, "You're gonna be the woman?" Apparently, Ryan had started the scene with the intention that he was going to play the woman, but Colin turned the tables on him very quickly.
  • Amusing Injuries: While it probably wasn't so funny for Ryan himself, jumping on Ryan's back was a riot, especially since the cast was joking about it soon afterward.

Colin: Are you crazy?! He's over forty!
Ryan: It's [the next "Hollywood Director" style] "porn", so I can lie down, right?
Ryan: That disc popped right back in!
Chip: I broke Ryan!

    • Another amusing one was when Colin was held upside down during "Action Replay" (as per imitating Wayne's and Greg's actions) and struggled a tad to get up afterward. Drew could scarcely contain his glee after the game: "I don't know why I laugh when you get hurt."

Ryan: Do you want to throw one of my blue shoes at him?

Ryan: (arranging a mess of copper wires around Colin's face) This will measure the size of one's head!
Colin: And also it can remove those pesky eyes!

  • Anachronism Stew: Frequently seen in "Film, TV & Theater Styles" and "Whose Line", as many of the scenes take place in the past, yet feature modern technology or references anyway.
  • And Now for Something Completely Different: Questions with Wigs, Questions Only WITH WIGS.
  • Angels Pose: Done in "Film, TV & Theater Styles" whenever the style is Charlie's Angels.
  • Angrish: Frequently in games where Ryan plays a usurper who puts the moves on Colin's wife, Colin comes home and spouts angrish when he sees the two of them together. One time, it's played with: During his angrish rants, he interrupts himself to tell his wife, "Here, I got you something", then continues his angrish.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The last few UK seasons.
    • Evolving Credits: The big move to the US was indicated by swapping out the red background from the animated OP with a Hollywood skyline.
      • The OP evolved even before then. The first UK season featured John Sessions (the show's regular) prominently; the second season (in which he didn't appear nearly as often) removed the clips of him and had silhouettes performing the various games. Then it changed to the animated opening.
  • Anything That Moves: In between games in one episode, Wayne randomly remarks: "Sometime tonight during the show, I'm humpin' someone in the audience. (audience cheers) That's all I know. That's all I know."
  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: Not said outright, but the meaning of the trope was definitely there. During a game a Greatest Hits, Drew asks the audience for a European city you would go to to have a good time, and gets back Paris and Amsterdam and has to make a decision.

Drew: "Paris...Amsterdam...umm...let's do uhh...P...Am...Amsterdam..."
(Ryan, Colin, and Wayne all give Drew bemused, questioning looks)
Ryan: "Ooookaay!"
Drew: "...Let's do Paris."

  • Artistic License Military: During a playing of "Reunion" where all three were drill sergeants, Greg said "At Ease". Colin and Greg did the appropriate "at ease" stance, but Ryan put his hands on his hips, before noticing the other two and quickly switching. Cut to Drew (who served in the Marine Corps), mocking Ryan's mistake, though according to the official regulations, Ryan's initial stance was still acceptable.
  • Artistic Licence Geography: One of the first occurrences of "African Chant" saw Wayne get up and walk off in mock-protest. After sharing a few laughs, Drew responded with...

Drew: Uh, Africa is a big country just by Madagascar...
(Greg laughs loudly)
Greg Proops: It's also a CONTINENT if you're a geographer!

Josie: Are you going to the Parthenon tonight? (Stephen fumbles and gets buzzed out)
Stephen: (to Clive) Could you tell her the Parthenon's in Athens? (leaves, Ryan steps in)
Josie: Is the Parthenon in Athens?
Ryan: Would you like to buy a map?

      • She probably meant Pantheon, which is in Rome.
    • During a "Scenes From a Hat" about state mottos, Colin gave a suggestion about Miami. Drew immediately corrected him: "Miami's a city." Colin's response: "Florida: Not to be confused with Miami."
  • Artistic Licence History: Done for laughs during a playing of "Greatest Hits" about "Songs of Rome": Ryan remarks that Rome's been around for about 100 years.
  • Artistic License Physics: At the end of a barber shop-themed "Narrate", Ryan traps Colin in one of the chairs, straps him in, and spins him to launch him out of the shop. Colin spins in the opposite direction, but catches himself a few seconds later and corrects himself.
    • If you watch Ryan's reaction to this, it is simply amazing.
  • Artistic Licence Statistics: Occasionally happens in "Number of Words"; for instance, in a scene from the U.S. version, Ryan Stiles, playing Rocky Balboa's coach Mick, said "Smack the meat, Rock! Smack it!" and "Hit the meat, Rock! Hit it!", even though his character was only allowed to say five words, not six. After the game, Drew Carey called attention to this, and Ryan replied, "With the exchange, it all works out."
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption
  • As You Know: Parodied to hell and back in "Greatest Hits", as Colin and Ryan atempt to explain a "personal connection" to whichever obscure musical style they're about to hit Wayne with.
  • Author Appeal: Colin doing his dinosaur impression, Ryan's John Wayne and Carol Channing impressions, Greg's Braveheart and Woody Allen, and Wayne's Bill Cosby and Michael Jackson.
    • Brad does a pretty good impression of Fred Schneider from The B-52's in "Greatest Hits".
    • Chip Esten is well known for his Snagglepuss impression.
    • Also Jeff Davis, who in his nine appearances has imitated Christopher Walken at least three times.
  • Awesomeness By Analysis: Ever wonder why Ryan never hosts the "Party Quirks" party? Apparently, he is able to guess anyone's quirk in thirty seconds, which is why so few of the ones taped with him ever make it to air.
    • Colin has been employing some of this during "Newsflash" and "Press Conference".
  • Back to Front: "Backwards Scene".
  • Badass Bystander: Every once in a while you get an audience member who can match Wayne in the dancing department. Sam the fitness instructor and Julia the dance instructor come to mind.

Wayne: (singing to Sam the fitness instructor in the style of Riverdance)
Well, she'll get busy and dance
I thought that there was my chance
But let me tell you all, don't you see
I didn't know she could actually Riverdance!

    • Another audience member, Derek the diesel guy, danced/made YMCA-style hand symbols with Wayne and Chip during "Duet". After the game...

Wayne: Derek, you want a job, dude?

  • Bad Impressionists: Colin, during a "Questionable Impressions" game: (in his regular voice) "Do you have a table for a Craig T. Nelson?"
    • Also, Wayne Brady during "Multiple Personalities", in the style of John Wayne: "Howdy, pilgrim. It appears that someone's... got a flat. (Ryan and Greg just stare at him, smiling) Got a flat!" It was so bad that Drew made mention of it after the game: "A thousand points to John Wayne Brady! Man of a thousand faces!"
    • Wayne Brady again when trying to imitate Woody Allen in "Film, TV & Theater Styles". When the next style was "horror", Ryan remarked, "Oh my God, that was a horrible impression."
    • During a "Film, TV & Theater Styles", the next style was The Gong Show. Colin pretended to be Jaye P. Morgan, and when asked his opinion:

Colin: (faking a hoarse voice) I thought it... SUCKED. (Beat) That's the best Jaye P. I do.

  • Bald of Awesome: Colin's known as one of the best players on the show, if he's not teased for it.
  • Bank Robbery: One "Hollywood Director" featured this as its scene.
  • Battle Cry: "SHUT UP AND TOUCH THE MONKEY!"
    • "GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR A BRAN MUFFIN!"
    • "BRING MY BROWN PANTS!"
  • Bawdy Song: The Hoedown songs that don't make it to air are sometimes this. Drew likes these. For some reason, this song about puberty was cut.
  • Beat: Occurs most often in "Greatest Hits" during the Colin and Ryan banter. Examples:
    • During "Songs of the Beekeeper", Ryan said: "We have "Songs of the Beekeeper", and what a lonely profession it is, really." (Colin stares at him)
    • During "Songs of the International Spy", Ryan said: "Oh, and so many styles to choose from." (again, Colin stares blankly)
    • And one that got somewhat out of control:

Ryan: "...over 52 songs, on one CD! But it's a big one! (beat) And it's made out of chocolate! (longer beat) I had a little something to drink earlier!"

Drew: Things you don't expect to find when you wake up in the morning.
Wayne: (Pretending to wake up and looking over) Colin?!
Colin: (Runs onto the stage and shouts at a retreating Wayne) Teach me to sing like you!
Ryan: (Joining Colin onstage) What's his problem?
Colin: I don't know.

  • BFG: The "Director" segment of the episode of Robin Williams guest-starring. Wayne yanks out a giant... thing with mechanical noises each time he's called in to exterminate some rats. Even during "Riverdance".
    • Justified in a session of "Film, TV, and Theater Styles"—the style called out was Anime. Says it all, really.
    • "Sound Effects" sometimes involves Ryan calling out Colin and whoever's making sounds for him on having a pithy gunshot sound, then proceeding to one-up him with a supposedly bigger gun. It doesn't always pan out, of course.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: A running joke with Ryan. Also the source of gags when Greg was "Viagra Man" in a Superheroes game.

Greg: Thank goodness the crisis has been averted. (poses) Now I've got a date with the Grand Canyon!

    • In a round of "Scenes From a Hat", the suggestion was "How the naked Fridays policy worked out at your office", which was nothing but jokes about impossibly long dicks.
    • During a "Weird Newcasters", Greg insinuated that Colin's character (a streaker who bets he can get in every shot) had a small penis when he said: "And I wouldn't say that's an Italian sausage, more like a Vienna sausage."
  • Big No: Said by Ryan in "Weird Newscasters" when he realized that the glass slipper fit on Drew's foot.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In one playing of "Foreign Film Dub", Jeff Davis spoke a bit of actual Spanish.
    • Wayne also does this regularly, it appears he knows at least a moderate amount of the language.
    • Similarly, Colin and his French. Which is spectacularly inverted during this session of Hollywood Director. "Just to give it that sort of... I don't know what." That phrase some of you may be thinking of is je ne sais quois, which means just that.
    • Stephen Colbert brought some actual German to the table during his appearance, even getting a Hitler quote past the radar.
    • In one UK show with Stephen Fry he spoke an entire "Questions Only" scene set in Rome entirely in Latin.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Lampshaded by Wayne Brady during a game of "Questions Only" set at the Bates Motel and also during a game of "Themed Restaurant" with the theme being horror.

Wayne: Am I going to be the first one to die, like I always am?

    • After a playing of Questions Only where one of Wayne's characters is an elderly man who removes his dentures before trying to kiss the other player, Drew says, "Thousand points to everybody but Wayne. Thanks for this: (mimics Wayne's "toothless mouth" expression that he used in the game) Thanks for that visual. I have enough trouble falling asleep at night."
  • Brand X: In this "Helping Hands", there's a box of Twinkies with the T painted over. Another one involved what Colin described out loud as "a tin of furniture polish with the brand name erased!"
    • Before a playing of "Superheroes", Drew got a suggestion from the audience that the world was out of Cheetos, but chose the suggestion of no more shaving cream instead, as he was worried about the brand name. True to form, Greg brought up Cheetos during the skit anyway.
      • Interestingly, another round of Superheroes had Brad get the name "Captain Morgan", a pretty blatant reference to the liquor.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: After a commercial break, Drew said:

Drew: I'm Drew Carey. My turn-ons are big, crackling fires, romantic walks on the beach, and strippers.

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: During a playing of "Let's Make a Date", Ryan's quirk was the overly long "a witch who entices the beast to her magic sleeping stool and then must find his true love to break the spell and turn him into a prince". When Ryan was asked his first question and the quirk appeared on the screen, Ryan said:

Ryan: I'm just leaving a little time, so everyone can read the novel that is my suggestion.

  • Brick Joke: In one episode, Drew used a tape player and a pre-taped message of himself giving points to the performers. While Drew was away from the desk during a break, Wayne grabbed the tape player and recorded himself saying "My ass." over and over. A "Helping Hands" was played, and afterwards Drew prepared to award points from his tape player... only to hear "My ass, my ass..."
    • In a later episode of the U.S. version, Drew mentioned after a game that Wayne just ate a whole bucket full of candy (this is in reference to a Party Quirks where Wayne played a member of a fraternity who performed various stunts, including eating a bucket full of candy). The audience remained silent, as it wasn't really a joke, and Greg broke the silence by saying "Screech!" Later on in the episode, during "Hats", Greg wore some insect wings and said: "Well I'm out of the caterpillar stage..." The audience barely reacted and Drew got back at Greg by saying: "SCREECH!"

Greg: You put the *bleep* wings on.

    • In a game of "Irish Drinking Song" with the subject of getting mugged, Ryan finished the first verse, after a Beat, with "A stone I passed!" It cracked the performers up enough to require two rounds of "Oh, hi-dee-di-dee-di-dee-di-dee-di-dee-di-dee-di" to get back on track. Then, in the final verse, Colin finishes with "He put my stone back in my end!" to much laughter and applause. See it here.
    • During a game of Newsflash, the scene shown was of a bodybuilding competition, and during the game, Ryan was making jokes about the female bodybuilders looking like men. After the game Drew said "I gotta say Ryan, some day, when you least expect it, a big body building chicks gonna leap out in front of you and kick your ass." to which Ryan respond in a scratchy voice "You made fun of me! You made fun of me!" 15 episodes later, Drew introduces special guest Jane Tricker, a female bodybuilder. Ryan immediately leaps out of his seat and goes to hide backstage.
    • In a playing of "Greatest Hits", Colin said, "The great thing about this CD is we have music from everywhere!", and proceeded to flail his arms wildly, presumably indicating that he's pointing to different parts of the world. Ryan asked: "Have you been working out?" Colin replied, "No, I'm a drummer!" and began to imitate Bill, who was previously sung to in "Duet" and who mimed drumming motions while Brad and Wayne sung to him. Then Ryan began to imitate audience member Debbie's minimal stretching from "Dubbing", which wasn't from the same episode but came from the same taping.
    • In one episode, Brad and Wayne sung to Angela, a sign language interpreter. After the game, she taught the cast how to say "I'm sorry" in sign language. Later in the same episode, after Drew made a flub where he called Wayne and Brad "Wad", Wayne said, "You better say..." and made the sign language for "I'm sorry".
  • British Brevity: Averted; the U.K. version lasted for ten seasons (or series), with 136 episodes total. Not too shabby.
  • British Rock Star: Wayne plays one in this round of Let's Make A Date.
  • British Teeth: Played straight in a few "Scenes From a Hat" suggestions on the U.S. version, and with some Props on the same versions.
  • Buffy-Speak: Unavoidable with the nature of the show. Colin of course is usually responsible.
    • In this "Scene to Music":

Caroline: Yes! The spurty spurty, with the little washy things!

  • Busby Berkeley Number: In one "Weird Newscasters", Ryan had the quirk of delivering the news in the style of a Busby Berkeley musical number.
  • But I Digress: During a playing of "Greatest Hits", Colin mentions that the next artist is Jerry Van Dyke. Ryan interrupts and says, "I knew him when he was Jerry Van Lesbian, years and years ago. (audience laughs) But I digress."
  • Butt Monkey: Colin, who was the source of many bald jokes, although he was likely the most skilled performer (he almost never cracks up while in character). Lampshaded by Colin himself when he offered to be everyone's "Lightning Rod of Hate."
    • The UK version turned Josie Lawrence into this. Paul Merton and Tony Slattery, we're looking at you.
    • Happens literally to Wayne after his big secret[1] came out...
    • The US version featured several jokes about Drew Carey's weight. Those jokes were usually done by Ryan, but other members of the cast got in on it from time to time - even Drew himself every now and then.
      • Drew also gets mocked for "sitting behind a desk and doing nothing"
    • During the opening introductions, Ryan is always introduced last, and every performer has a joke told about them. As the jokes get played more and more at the actors' expense, Ryan thus gets the worst of it.
  • But You Screw One Goat!: Before the "Duet" where Wayne and Brad sang to Lassie the dog, Wayne remarked that Lassie looks so pretty. Drew agreed, then gave Wayne a smart aleck look. Wayne seemed annoyed that Drew took his comment in a sexual direction.

Drew: Whatever dude, I'm not judgin' you.

    • Jokes like this were actually more prevalent in the UK version, and not just from the UK players (Ryan's impression of a World's Worst "nature documentary", for example). One session of Hey You Down There even ended with Drew commenting "sheep jokes... that's why we're so popular in Scotland" (even though the actual joke was about running over a sheep instead).
    • A specific UK-version example: the game was the World's Worst Person to Defend You In Court.

Colin: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it's not like the sheep was under-age!

    • "We're watching animal porn! Mary Had a Little Lamb will be right back..."
    • The Sex Hoedown on the UK version has a verse from Ryan regarding this.
    • In a playing of "Hats":

Ryan: (as The Wicked Witch of the West) I want to make love to you... you and your little dog!!

  • Call Back: Showstopping Number always, ALWAYS featured a call back to a previous incident during Ryan's song. Some examples:

Ryan: In case you forget, my name is Ryan! (regarding an audience member forgetting Ryan's name during "Sound Effects")
Ryan: I crack up when I hear "tapioca"! (regarding Colin making Ryan laugh during "Greatest Hits" by answering a riddle with the nonsensical "tapioca")
Ryan: I can't think straight since you grabbed my penis! (regarding a "Party Quirks" where Colin checks the sex of everybody else)
Ryan: At least I can pronounce the name "Howard"! (regarding Wayne misspelling audience member Howard's name as "Horward" during "Song Styles")
Ryan: Come on and fluff my Garfield! (regarding a catchphrase Colin created during "If You Know What I Mean")
Ryan: We didn't get the suggestion, we almost didn't get the hint, because Drew almost choked on an altoid mint! (self-explanatory; see the Mood Whiplash entry on this page for the full story)
Ryan: You probably don't understand. You're cerebral! (regarding Colin saying his comedy is cerebral after few got his joke in "Weird Newscasters")

    • Hoedown also frequently featured call backs to jokes from earlier in the episode. One such Hoedown, about magicians, addressed both Wayne being ticklish in "Party Quirks" and Colin accidentally pouring hot coffee on his hands in "Helping Hands".
    • In a "Greatest Hits" about beekeepers, Colin mentioned that eating flan is a great way to get rid of excess celluloid. This is a reference to an earlier playing of "Infomercial", where Ryan kept mixing up the words "celluloid" and "cellulite".
  • The Cameo: Jerry Springer and Stephen Colbert were guest performers in US episodes and filled in their natural roles in Daytime Talkshow and Weird Newscasters respectively.
    • IF guest performers count as cameos, don't forget Richard Simmons... *shudder*
    • And apparently, one of the creators of Homestarrunner.com briefly appeared in the audience of a U.S. episode.
  • Camera Abuse: The cameras in this show get mugged, kissed, run circles around, and one has even been knocked over by a flying hat. Ryan Stiles regularly does this trope.
  • Canada, Eh?: A playing of "Foreign Film Dub" had the language of "Canadian" used, which featured lots of "eh"s and references to hockey, ice boxes, and other Canadian stereotypes.
    • Though averted with Colin himself; he never says "eh".
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: During one playing of "Hats", Colin came out holding a pumpkin and said, "This is my friend, Gord. (audience barely laughs) No, he's a great pumpkin. (almost silence) ...Aw, screw it." (audience laughs)
    • Also, during "Weird Newscasters", Colin's punny anchor name was "Noah Sheshavingmybaby". He said it really fast so the audience likely didn't realize that it was play on "Know her? She's having my baby". Drew called attention to the lack of audience response after the game, to hilarious results.

Colin: You know, my stuff...a lot of it's cerebral.

    • This was followed by Drew saying "Yeah, the kind of cerebral you pour milk on."
    • In a game of 'Dating Service Video' Greg puts on a vaugely alien mask and says "I'm a Klingon by trade..." *almost no one laughs* "But when I'm not funny, I sit here with this thing on my head! *much more laughter*
  • Captain Obvious: Colin was literally named this in a playing of "Superheroes". Of course, he played it to ridiculous lengths.
  • Captain Superhero: in Weird Superheroes, leading to the above.
  • The Cast Showoff: Wayne was given a showcase game to display his musical talents (usually "Song Styles" or "Greatest Hits") in virtually every episode of the US version. This practice is actually Older Than They Think; Mike McShane got the same treatment during his run on the UK version (though his game was "Bartender"). Chip was also a regular in "Bartender" in the UK; it became "his" game when they moved to the US, until they dropped it; but he usually sang along with Wayne as well, especially in "Greatest Hits".
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Newsflash sometimes turns out like this, unless Colin goes for the "panicky-mortal-danger" approach.
  • Catch Phrase: Clive, on the U.K. version: (after listing off the performers that were on the show) "Richard Vranch on the piano, and me, Clive Anderson, saying good night. Good night." Additionally, reading the credits "in a style of my own choosing". It was such an iconic catchphrase that during a "Press Conference" where Colin had Clive's love child, one of the dead give-away hints was one of the performers asking if the child had been birthed in a style of his own choosing, to which Colin said, "It was done in the form of a Hoedown."
    • Colin was fond of this, turning one-shot punchlines into Running Gags.
    • "Where the points don't matter, just like X."
    • Drew, on the U.S. version: "Welcome to Whose Line is it Anyway, the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter." Additionally, for a brief time, Drew remarked that a game would make a great party game to try if "there's no chicks or booze."
    • Another catch-phrase of Drew's: "And I'm your host, Drew Carey; come on down, let's have some fun!"
  • Celebrity Endorsement: Parodied in "Infomercial" when Colin played Craig T. Nelson, a throwback to a gag from elsewhere in the same taping. Sometimes invoked in Scenes from a hat and World's Worst.
  • Censor Box: In the U.S. version, a small censor box covered the performer's mouths if they said a stronger curse word, in addition to the auditory beep. This was presumably so you couldn't read their lips. Strangely, the censor box wasn't used in every instance, though.
    • There was also a censor box used in the "Party Quirks" when Colin checked everyone's crotch to see what sex they were. The censor box covered Colin's hand when it was touching their privates.
    • Also a censor box over Ryan's hand when he gave the finger to Drew after the "Party Quirks" where Ryan broke the neon light on Drew's desk.
    • A rare and very deliberate subversion occurred during a performance of Hollywood Director when Brad asked Ryan and Wayne "You guys wanna see my fingers turn blurry?" and proceeded to give them both the finger, which really was blurred out, rather than boxed. The censors got some occasional flack on Whose Line, but at least they were perceptive.
  • Christmas Episode: Both versions had one of these. The UK version had a 45-minute-long special with six contestants (Greg, Josie, Paul, Sandi, Tony, and Mike) complete with special promos. The US version was pretty much a normal episode, although it did have Brad and Wayne singing to Santa Claus and a reindeer.
  • Cliché Storm: Invoked in a "Superheroes" where Colin played "Captain Cliche" and ONLY spoke in cliches. His first words? "Better late than never!"
    • Made funnier with his final words: "Silly rabbi!"
  • Clip Show: "The Best of Whose Line is it Anyway", which featured clips from seasons 1 and 2 of the U.S. version, wrapped around new footage of Drew (in a fancy suit and bowtie!) introducing the clips.
  • Cluster Crap Bomb: Hollywood Director is best known for Colin's... colorful inflections as he halts the scene each time. As seen here.

"Crap! Crap! Not too bad."
"You'd need a stepladder to get to their level of crap!"

Colin: He's not that funny!

  • Confession Cam: Parodied during the one playing of "Survivor Show", where each contestant told the camera who they were voting off; the highlight was when Ryan voted for himself so he could leave the show.
    • The confession cam was also parodied during a "Film, TV & Theater Styles" where Wayne acted like a member of The Real World.
  • Confessional: Parodied in "World's Worst", the subject being "priest or rabbi":

Ryan: I understand; you've slept with three women. (whispering to somebody in the confessional booth) He slept with three women.

    • A game of Weird Newscasters had Colin getting this role:

Colin: "I like to shave... small animals..."
Brad: "...and that's the evening news." (closes imaginary shutter)

  • The Confidant: A playing of "Let's Make a Date" featured Ryan acting out "Drew Carey: The Musical", which included making fun of his big glasses, big ass, and saying that he dated blow-up dolls. After the game, Drew awarded 1000 points to everyone except for Ryan, only for Ryan to reply:

Ryan: I thought I was rather kind... seeing as how I got a lot of stuff on ya.
Drew: Yeah, so like I said, 1000 points to my good buddy, Ryan Stiles! (audience cheers)

  • Consolation Prize: During the episodes that made up the Halloween-themed taping, Drew awarded candy as prizes instead of the usual points. But instead of handing it to them, he threw the candy in their general direction, to which Greg sarcastically remarked: "Jellybeans on the floor? This is the best Halloween ever, Drew."
    • In one episode, Drew awards hundred dollar bills.
  • Content Warnings: A few episodes of the U.S. version featured the tagline "Too Hot" branded next to the "Whose Line" logo, signaling that the upcoming episode would be slightly more racy and suggestive than usual. One such episode which featured the "Too Hot" logo was when Colin repeatedly touched everyone's crotch (including his own) in "Party Quirks".
  • Cool Shades: The Hats game sometimes has these for variety. One time Brad and Wayne have to improv a Blues Brothers song, and get some shades to wear.
  • Corpsing: Generally the players try to keep a straight face during the skits, but sometimes they can't help but laugh. Some examples:
    • Ryan struggling to keep a straight face in a playing of "Improbable Mission" with Ryan and Colin doing the laundry. Colin repeatedly used a "cat" as a tool to aid this task, which Ryan found amusing.
    • During a playing of "Greatest Hits", Ryan quizzed Colin about what type of bird squawks the name of the next band. Colin, puzzled by the question, guessed an arctic tern. Ryan, equally puzzled, asked what kind of sound an arctic tern makes. After thinking for a second, Colin squawked: "Backstreet Boys!" Ryan lost it (as did the rest of the cast).[2]
    • Similarly, in another "Greatest Hits", Ryan asked Colin what he thought of when he hears "Ricky Ricardo and great cigars". Colin replied, "Tapioca". Ryan asked why, and Colin replied: "Well wasn't that his famous song? (singing) "Tapioca"! "Tapioca!"" Ryan tried desperately to stave off laughter and continue with the bit, but after two tries to finish his sentence, he broke down laughing for a good 30 seconds.
    • Yet another Greatest Hits, about lunch ladies, featured another classic Ryan moment. Colin began to speak, but coughed. Ryan failed to maintain his composure while Colin said: "Here's a tip for all you announcers at home: Swallow before you speak." After this, Ryan got it together until Colin announced the title of the next song, "Don't Want Your Milk". Watch Ryan in this moment; he's desperately trying to refrain from smiling/laughing while Colin speaks.
    • During a playing of "If You Know What I Mean" about working out, Brad cracked up at his own double entendre, "Nothing like a 200 pound (snatch), if you know what I mean!"
    • The game "Questionable Impressions" practically invites this trope, since the performers do such over-the-top (and occasionally, bad) impressions with the intent to crack up the opposing player. In one instance, Brad did an exaggerated, stutter-filled impression of Jimmy Stewart; Ryan knew he couldn't get through the scene without laughing and just let Brad have the "win".
    • A playing of "Irish Drinking Song" went off the rails right from the start, when Drew mumbled a line, and Ryan mocked his mumble. Wayne, the next in order, was too busy laughing to come up with the next line, as was Drew. To make them laugh even harder, Colin shouted "MEOW!" as his line, which was a Running Gag from the same episode.
    • Colin cracked up at his own blunder in a playing of "Changed Letter" where he started the game by flat out forgetting to not say the letter "B". See Epic Fail below for details.
      • Speaking of "Changed Letter", one playing had the contestants unable to say the letter "P"; they had to replace it with "G". Ryan began to crack up when Colin asked him if he'd like some "gog" to drink. This was exacerabed when Wayne added: "Soda gog and gickles??"
    • Inevitably becomes literal in the game "Dead Bodies", which involves all but one member of a stage show starring three players and an audience member dying, leaving the sole living player (usually Colin) to carry on the show by himself.
    • In a playing of "Sound Effects" where Colin was Ryan's heavily pregnant wife, Colin mimed pushing the baby back inside himself to climb down a ladder comfortably. At this, Ryan cracked up (as did pretty much everyone in the studio save for Colin), and Ryan continued to laugh even while asking if Colin was all right after the climb.
    • Kathy Greenwood has been known to break character and smile/laugh in certain scenes. An example is in a playing of "Helping Hands" where she played an impatient customer being checked out by a rude clerk. At one point, Colin's hands roamed a little too close to her chestal area, and she genuinely laughed at first, but then got back into character by being offended and accusing: "Hey what are you grabbing at?!"
    • In a "Showstopping Number" about accountants, Wayne (playing the boss) smirked at his own line: "Now normally, I'd fire someone for their impudence, but..."
  • Couch Gag: at the beginning of both series. Clive started out introducing the players and their showbiz origins, then got bored with that and switched to more original, thematic introductions, with a theme and usually a sting for the fourth one.

Clive: The greatest thing from America since sliced hamburgers, Mike McShane; and the most interesting Canadian after the maple leaf, Colin Mochrie; and the biggest thing in show business since Barnum and Bailey's tent pole, Ryan Stiles; and finally the most interesting thing to come out of Gunnersbury since the North Circular Road, Tony Slattery.

    • Drew introduced each episode's contestants by using slogans, figures of speech, or other popular phrases while replacing the last words of the phrase with the contestant's name.

Drew: If at first you don't succeed, try Greg Proops! If you can't stand the heat, get out of the Wayne Brady! If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say Colin Mochrie! And if you think you have problems, Ryan Stiles!

    • Ryan's habit of making a funny expression into the camera during the intro can be traced back to the last UK season. In the US version, all four of them will be making an odd face for their introduction,.
  • Media Research Failure: At the start of an episode, Drew pulled out a newspaper with the headline: "Colin Mochrie, pictured here, is the zany host of the clear, clever, and witty British game show, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" Colin gave a courtesy wave to applause, despite that he's not actually the host of the show. Drew then threatened, "Don't you ever pull that stuff on me again!"
    • Although not featured on the show, a British newspaper inaccurately (in order to rant at Cultural Translation and They Changed It, Now It Sucks) claimed that the US version of WLIIA would be an actual serious competitive panel game with real points, and Drew and Ryan would be regular team captains.
  • Creative Closing Credits: with a bonus of Leaning on the Fourth Wall as one or more players are chosen to read out the credits in a certain fashion.
  • Crosscast Role: Due to the cast being all males most of the time, whenever a scene has a woman in it, Colin usually plays the woman. In fact, Colin often calls it before Drew even reads the cards.

Drew: Ryan is Noah, and Colin is-
Colin: His wife?
Drew: Mrs. Noah, yeah. Colin knows his role in every scene.

    • Colin once asked, "Can we get some women on this show?"
    • One scene had Colin playing a submarine captain.

Colin: Man or woman?
Drew: It doesn't say. If I had to guess... woman.

  • Curse Cut Short: During the "Changed Letter" when "F" replaced "B", Brad tried to goad Wayne into saying the word "buck". Before Wayne could finish his sentence, Colin interrupted simply with, "Yeah." The word was then avoided entirely by calling the male deer a STAG.
    • Done when the cast parodies Shaft: "He's one bad mutha-" "Shut yo mouth!"
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: One "Hoedown" about marriage ended with Ryan singing he's glad he's married, because it sure beats sitting around and pulling on his own penis.
    • In a deleted scene on the DVDs, Ryan lampshaded the fact that it's hard to do a "Hoedown" about puberty without mentioning masturbation.

"I like to pull my penis, I do it all the time..."

    • In a "World's Worst" about the worst person to share a lifeboat with, Drew said, "OK, lemme show you one more way I like to masturbate."
    • "I've been cheating on you WITH MY OTHER HAND!"
    • In the "affair hoedown," both Wayne and Drew mention masturbating

Wayne:"This affair has got me, its hold on me is mighty. No, it isn't with a woman, my affair is with Righty.
Drew: "What i've discovered is an affair to remember, I'm thinking about Ms. June while I'm looking at Ms. November.

  • Dead Guy Puppet: An occasional gag, most commonly with Ryan Stiles and/or Scenes From A Hat.

Drew: "Things not to do at a funeral..."

  • Deadpan Snarker: Clive Anderson, host of the British version. Colin also tends to be one due to how he never breaks character, thus rarely even smiles at his jokes or others' when he performs, though like everyone else on the show, he's also a Large Ham on other occasions.
  • Deal with the Devil: During a "Weird Newscasters" where Ryan ventured into Hell, he went up to Drew Carey and said, "THIS is how you got two shows..."
  • Death Glare: Colin Mochrie, of all people, gives one to Ryan when he makes a Nazi Captain Hair joke at his expense.
  • Deleted Scene: All of seasons 7 and 8 of the U.S. version are merely cobbled together from old footage not used in previous episodes. As the tapings can take 2–3 hours, it's easy to get a half hour of footage multiple times from them. That said, there are also deleted scenes and games on the season 1 DVD sets, which didn't appear in any proper episodes.
    • Parodied in-show with the game "Scenes Cut From a Movie".
  • Demoted to Extra: variation, semi-regular players from the UK version like Ron West and Jimmy Mulville would later be credited under staff.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Ryan, during a playing of "Greatest Hits":

Ryan: I remember a protest song out of the '60s that I had on a record.. in the '60s.
Colin: Wow! What kind of strange coincidence is that!

Colin: Every night I go to sleep, I go to sleep each night...

    • In a "Greatest Hits" about race car drivers:

Colin: Oh, I love race cars and I love race car drivers; I love songs about race cars and race car driving!

    • A Drew example: "Now let's go on to a game called "Film Dub". It's a game called "Film Dub", okay?" Right before the game began, Greg teased him about it:

Greg: What's this game called?
Drew: "Film Dub".

  • Description Porn: As the U.S. version went on, the "Let's Make a Date" and "Party Quirks" descriptions got longer and more elaborate. This was occasionally Lampshaded, such as when Ryan looked at his watch partway through Drew reading Jeff the right answer, or when Greg actually looked at Wayne's quirk on the card after the game and said:

Greg: OH MY GOD! There's two paragraphs of text on this!
Drew: They're all awfully detailed.
Greg: This is the Bhagavad Gita, there's 50,000 chapters! (laughs) I didn't realize we were reading the whole Kabbalah.

    • The Party Quirks playing in question can be found here.[3]
  • Deserted Island: In a "Weird Newscasters", Ryan played a man stranded on a deserted island.
  • Deus Ex Machina: At the end of the infamous "Improbable Mission" with the cat, the burnoose that Ryan and Colin are supposed to be washing is accidentally set on fire and destroyed. There's a brief pause, and Colin says, "It's OK, I have an extra burnoose." and mimes pulling one out of his pocket.
    • Most segments of Improbable Mission utilize this trope pretty heavily throughout.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: pay close attention, Josie Lawrence, Tony Slattery and even Colin Mochrie tend to have these moments.
    • Animal Porn. Colin has a DIJSTOL fail during a Greatest Hits skit, saying that they'll get back to the "animal porn" in just a moment, then makes it even worse by naming the porn.[4] The sketch goes Off the Rails for a long moment as everyone except him falls apart laughing.

Ryan: He's so happy! "We're watching animal porn!"

  • Didn't We Use This Joke Already?: Depending on the game, repeated suggestions may be rejected. Even so, there are four Blind Date hoedowns.
    • The joke, "Two thongs don't make a right" comes up a few times in the series. Drew even took points away from Ryan for using it in one game.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Before a playing of "African Chant", Drew said that Wayne would be singing it, and the following exchange occurs:

Wayne: Why I gotta do the African Chant?!
Drew: Because Colin would just mess it up.

  • Disorganized Outline Speech:
    • During a playing of the Millionaire Show game, Greg Proops accidentally messes up when giving out the multiple choice answers:

Greg: When you eat pig, it is called A: Pork, B: That farshtunken neighbor of mine, 3:... [Pause.] Sometimes I change from C to 3.

    • Another playing of the same game has Colin listing the choices under A, C, C and D. Ryan does not let this go without comment.
    • In yet another playing, Colin asks:

A compact disc is also known as: A) AA, B) CD, D)...er...C) BC, D)......ddddddD

Wayne: [wearing a hat with a rooster on it] I'll make your chicken run!
Collective Groan from the audience]
Wayne: It's the name of a movie!

    • There's a Weird Newscasters where Colin is a bad stand-up comic:

Colin: Well, it seems that all the fish are dying. Could this be an act of Cod? (laughs) We've been having bad weather lately; it's raining... cats and dogs! I stepped in a poodle! (laughs and slaps knees) It's like puddle, but spelled differently! I've got 28 more minutes!
Brad: Ha, ha. Sure is quiet in the newsroom, isn't it.

    • The Closed Captions for the initial order of American episodes ruined all of the punchlines.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Colin and Ryan mime eating donuts during the "Sound Effects" where they play cops. The audience members who provided their sound effects didn't make the appropriate chewing noises at first, which Colin and Ryan naturally called attention to.
    • One session of Hollywood Director even has Greg entering while yelling "DON'T MOVE! I have a sugar donut!"
  • Double Entendre: This was pretty much the entire point of the game "Hats"/"Dating Service Video", as well as "If You Know What I Mean". Example: A "Scenes From a Hat" suggestion was "Things that your waitress says to you that can be misconstrued as sexual".

Wayne: So who's got the big meat?
Colin: The breasts are on special.

    • Any "Scenes from a Hat" suggestion that follows the syntax "Things you can say about _____ but not about your girlfriend." Here's a classic:

Colin: [for "Things you can say to your dog, but not your girlfriend"] Come!

  • Double Standard: Both played straight and for laughs at the same time; during an "Infomercial" about face lifts, Ryan made a couple bald and "big head" jokes about Colin, to which the audience laughed. Colin then proceeded to make a joke about the size of Ryan's nose, to which the audience reacted more with sympathy. After the game, Colin lampshaded this:

Colin: You notice all the melon jokes, the bald jokes, I make one nose joke, it's "OHHHH!"

  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Ryan, in the US version, twice on Weird Newscasters. Particularly memorable when he grabs three audience members to do pull-ups on the green-screen - the top of which got wrinkled and torn. The running gag for the show promptly became Ryan messing up the green screen.
  • Driven to Suicide: Ryan's character of Prince Charming in a "Weird Newscasters" skit hangs himself when he realizes that the glass slipper fits on Drew's foot. It even almost fit on an audience member's foot!
    • That was pretty much a running gag for Ryan.
    • Also happens in another "Weird Newscasters" where Wayne's character finds his girlfriend in the audience with another man. Distraught over her infidelity, he "jumps" to his death. Colin then makes the crack "This just in: Cheating girlfriends live longer than their boyfriends."
    • In one Hoedown, Ryan sings something along the lines of "It's hard to think of something with a little twist/ If we do another Hoedown, I'll slit my [beep] wrists!"
  • Eagle Land: The UK version played around with Flavor 2 for several games like "American Musical", "Rap", and, of course, "Hoedown".
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Before Tony Slattery's actual debut episode, he appeared as an audience member in the first episode after the pilot.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: When it comes to the U.S. version's first season: Wayne absent in some episodes? Check. One-shot performers like Ian Gomez, Kathy Kinney, Patrick Bristow (in an unaired pilot which later aired as part of season 8), and Stephen Colbert? Check. Ryan still wearing short sleeve shirts and Greg still wearing vests? Check. No Linda Taylor or other back-up musicians? Check and mate.
    • In the first few episodes, Drew would introduce the show by saying, "Welcome to Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter." He'd pause, and then the audience would laugh. And he wouldn't say "That's right, the points are just like...", either.
  • Edited for Syndication: The U.K. version is edited for time when broadcast in America, due to more commercials on most U.S. stations.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: "Scenes From a Hat": "Little-known facts about Drew Carey": Ryan said: "What kind of a middle name is Allison?"
    • Which turned out to be an unintended Mythology Gag to the UK version:

Clive: (taking suggestions for Singing Bartender) "...all right, Tony, you're angry about your middle name..."
Tony: "I am, actually. It's Declan."

  • Embarrassing Nickname: Colin got nicknamed "Mr. Moo" and "Colin Moochrie" after an "Improbable Mission" where he was milked.

Drew: He said he was sick of the bald jokes. Fine, Colin Moochrie, no more bald jokes.

    • And speaking of bald jokes, Colin was given the identity "Captain Hair" in "Superheroes" to save a world in crisis: NO MORE ROGAINE!

Ryan (after the game): Of course, you know what that is in German, right? Herr Hair!

  • Enforced Method Acting: Unavoidable, due to the improv nature of the show. Many of the reactions from the performers are unexpected. Just one of many examples: Colin seemed genuinely surprised when Ryan kissed him in the "Narrate" about The Maltese Burger.
    • You can usually spot one guy who isn't Colin get caught unawares during Colin's "crap" declarations in Hollywood Director.
      • Perhaps one of the best instances was when Chip jumped onto Ryan's back and Colin actually was yelling and wasn't just acting, since Ryan has a bad back.
    • Richard Simmons' appearance on the show caught at least one guy by complete surprise.
  • Entendre Failure: Used in nearly every playing of "If You Know What I Mean", to subvert the formula in the rest of the game: One of the performers will deliver a double entendre followed by the trademark "If you know what I mean", and another performer will reply with, "No, I don't know what you mean."
    • Also worth noting: whenever this happens to Colin, he usually pantomimes taking a shot (no matter where the action is located; he once did this in a scene set inside a locker room).
  • Ephebophile: Drew pretends to be one on a couple occasions:

Drew: Hey, did you know that teenagers, if they're hugged every day, they have better confidence and will do better in school? So parents, if you see me hugging your teenage daughter, I'm only trying to help.

    • Another example:

Drew: During the commercial break, did you hug your daughter? Because I did.

  • Epic Fail:
    • One of the first playings of Three Headed Broadway Singer has Drew momentarily forgetting the one-word-at-a-time rule ("And take me on a...!"), and it went downhill from there, to the extent that it gets brought up in a later ep.
      • In that later episode, David Hasselhoff turned this particular fail Up to Eleven by using multiple words at once several times without realizing his mistake.
    • Chip is responsible for the infamous "clothes in the dishwasher" mistake, and the lesser-known case where he inadvertently sang "professor" instead of "wrestler".

Chip: Do I even get one point for that?
Drew: No.

    • And Wayne forgetting one of his two lines during Two Line Vocabulary.

Drew: "Do you want to keep a copy for your own reference...?"

Ryan: Hey, Clive's allowed to make mistakes.
Drew: (to Ryan) I'm sorry, Greg.

Ryan: This is my shoe.
(he's ignored)

Drew: "So what was the 'Gary US Bonds' thing?"
Brad: "Didn't he go 'Do The Gator' during a song of his...?"
Drew: "You didn't even know and you throw it out as a clue? Minus 500 points..."

    • During a game of 'Narrate' Colin orders fries. Then he drinks them. The audience laughs and the look on his face when he realizes what he did is priceless.
    • Before a playing of "Duet", Drew asked Katie, a woman from the audience, what her job was. She replied that she works at Hoagie Oagie. This exchange occurred:

Drew: Do you work behind the counter, in front of the counter?
Katie: Behind.
Drew: Behind the counter, oh.
Ryan: "In front of the counter". That would be a customer, Drew. (audience laughs)

    • A prop in the UK version's christmas special broke and throughout the sketch gradually deteriorated.
    • In a playing of "Changed Letter", the performers couldn't say B; they had to say F. So what's Colin's first line? "Yeah, Brank?"
    • It should be clarified that Brad opened with "Fetty?". Most likely, Colin did that intentionally.
  • Erotic Eating: Seen a couple times during "Helping Hands".

Drew: You know, I can watch you eat that banana aaaaaall night long.
Ryan: (stops eating)

    • Colin's done the same "whole banana at once" act during one Questions Only set in a supermarket, and in Scenes from a Hat as his idea of a "talent segment you'll never see on Miss America".
  • Every Episode Ending: The players reading the credits in the style of the host's choosing. The first season of the U.S. version doesn't feature this, though, nor does the TV-themed episode later in the run; instead, the cast sings happy birthday to Sid Caesar.
  • Everything Is Racist: After announcing that the next game would be "African Chant" Wayne stands up and yells "How come the brother gotta do the African chant?"
    • Also, during the Tapioca playing of "Greatest Hits," Ryan asks Colin what sound a Blackbird makes, and Wayne walks into the shot and gives them a Death Glare.
    • Also, Colin's shout of "Damn rolling blackouts!" after a game prompted Wayne to get out of his chair and start rolling around on the floor...
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Straightforward game names help them to stick in the fans' minds.
  • Exact Words: Played for laughs with the more elaborate act descriptions.

Drew: "Wayne, you are a Haitian man who's been unfaithful and is now the victim of a voodoo attack..."
Wayne: (Angry Black Man on) "Why I gotta be the Haitian man who's been unfaithful and is now the victim of a voodoo attack?"

  • Executive Meddling: Thankfully averted, though attempted. When the show was first pitched for ABC, the execs didn't want Colin Mochrie to be part of the cast, for fear that he would look too old next to the others (being bald and all). Drew and Ryan fought hard for him to stay, and he not only was in every single episode of the U.S. version but ended up being one of the audience favorites.
    • One instance of meddling did occur in a playing of "Title Sequence", though: When Drew asked for the names of two unlikely roommates, he took the suggestions Bill Cosby and Adolf Hitler. Almost instantly, a director came up to Drew and informed him that he had to use something else in place of Hitler. Drew reluctantly settled for "Bill Cosby and the Insurance Salesman". Amusingly, the remainder of the episode consisted of the cast mocking the director's decision by working in jabs about Hitler. In particular, Ryan's hoedown about directors (where he said the director of Whose Line "should sprout a moustache and move to Germany!") received a standing ovation.
  • Expansion Pack Past: Ryan's and Colin's pasts, as described in "Greatest Hits", are quite elaborate and often contradict each other (particularly their ages). Of course, this could be justified if they just happen to be playing new characters each time.
  • Face Palm: One of the rare times Colin breaks character. In the "Slept With an Ugly Woman" Irish Drinking Song, Colin gets the last line (as usual) and spits out "It looked like someone had beat her." As soon as he realizes what he just said, he facepalms. He finishes the song with his hand still on his face.
  • Famous Last Words: During the "Weird Newscasters" where Ryan is about to die, Ryan sings a mock Hoedown and the last words of his character are: "...Before I do another, I'd rather be dead." Immediately after, he mimes having a heart attack.
  • Fan Disservice: the Newsflash games that involved a '50s "gentleman's club", and a little-known but official "fat women" beauty contest in Thailand.
    • Depending on who you ask, special guest Jayne Trcka was fan disservice, due to those bulging muscles.
  • Fan Service: To whoever seats the hot chicks behind Drew's shoulders just to keep the show interesting when the camera cuts away from the players: we're onto you.
    • Drew also often picks attractive women from the audience to be sung to by Wayne. If the woman is particularly hot, Ryan gets out of his seat to shake the woman's hand, even if he's not playing the game.
    • One episode features Hugh Hefner along with two Playboy Playmates as guests.
    • The Joanie Laurer (aka Chyna) episode certainly counts as fanservice as well, with Chyna wearing a knock off Wonder Woman outfit in her games. Another episode featured Neena and Veena the snake tamers/bellydancers, whose gyrating hips certainly were hypnotizing.
    • This game of Newsflash.
    • For the ladies and maybe some fanboys, David Hasselhoff in a full leather outfit straight out of Knight Rider.
    • Wayne's outfits tend toward this, looking as snug as they do. His rather large butt also gets plenty of attention.
    • Ryan tends to either mime taking his clothes off, or acting like a stripper or porn star.
  • Feghoot: Colin Mochrie is prone to this during "Weird Newscasters".
  • Five-Man Band: (out of the regular line-up):
  • Force Feeding: Occurs quite often in "Helping Hands". Usually it's Colin who will insert some disgusting food combination into Ryan's mouth, but occasionally the other player will do so as well, such as the episode with Florence Henderson: She stuffed a LOT of meat loaf into Ryan's mouth.

Ryan: I had some [meat loaf] in my hair there! It was all the way down my throat!

  • Forceful Kiss: Joanie Laurer gave a really long kiss to both Colin and Ryan in "Dubbing". Colin's kiss was so long that Ryan looked at his watch during it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Ryan ends a line with "scary" or "hairy" during Hoedown? He's going to rhyme it with "Drew Carey".
  • Foreign Cuss Word: On the US Whose Line, the players (well, more like Ryan) can get away with using the two-fingered "up yours" gesture without the censors blurring it. Like in this Two-Line Vocabulary.
    • Greg also managed to slip the Weird Newscaster name "Wink Wankley" past the US radar.
  • Foreign Remake: No, not the US version: there was also a recent Russian remake, titled "Ни бе ни ме нехило" (Ni be ni me nekhilo).[5] The host was pretty bad and the cast choice was just stupid,[6] and they did a twofer mistake in remaking a show unknown to Russian viewers and aggravating those who know about it by not even giving credit. Oh and to add insult to injury they immediately started relying on guest stars. The aforementioned ensued that the show died painfully despite heavy hype after lasting only four episodes.
  • Four More Measures: Colin does this almost every time they play Hoedown in order to give him more time to think.
  • Fridge Logic/Artistic License Logic - Always invoked and played for laughs, such as Colin somehow reporting from beyond the grave that rabid hamsters killed everyone in the US.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted in some Helping Hands sketches, where Ryan is exposed to real alcohol; Bartender is a completely straight example.
  • The Fun in Funeral: The whole point of the game "Funeral". Also some suggestions in "Scenes From a Hat" and "Props" (with the latter featuring a recurring joke, "Today, we bury (insert big-breasted woman's name here)." when a breast-shaped prop is used).
  • Funny Afro: One "Questions With Wigs" featured Ryan entering the scene wearing a giant yellow afro, asking "What's happenin'?" in a surfer voice.
    • Another episode had Drew putting on a purple afro after a game. Ryan said Drew looked like Sideshow Bob with that afro on.
  • Funny Background Event: It's often just as amusing to watch the performers who aren't participating in the games, as they often are seen dying of laughter while watching the games. An example is the "Showstopping Number" where Colin's last two lines are gibberish; Greg can be seen laughing hard in his chair.
  • Funny Foreigner: In a playing of "Hollywood Director", Colin broke from his usual characterization by acting like an immigrated citizen. His first line in the scene was this:

Colin: J'know, when I first come to this country with nothing but a hammer and a powerful laxative, I thought, "I wouldn't have to deal with this crup!"

  • Funny Money: Constant jokes aimed at Colin, mostly from Ryan, about the Canadian dollar supposedly being this. Started even in the British series, where the audience only got the joke from context.

Ryan: How much would you pay for this 30-CD set?
Colin: I'd pay anything up to $50,000! (audience laughs) But...I'm an idiot!
Ryan: And you're from Canada! So with the exchange...
Colin: I'm still an idiot!

  • Gag Boobs: In "Props", whenever a prop is remotely similar to breasts, guess what it'll be used for?

Ryan: (breast-like props are on the floor, standing upright) Today, we bury (Pamela Sue Anderson / Madonna).

  • Gag Penis: From imaginary ones to actual ones thanks to some of the Props. Ryan loves making jokes about these.

Colin: Hello, I'm Quite Hung.

Colin says he's hung the best, that I just can't see
I've known him for a long time, and it cannot be
He says he's got a big penis, but that's not a lock
'Cause I have to tell you right now: mine's tucked in my sock

    • One Scenes from a Hat was "How the naked Fridays policy worked out at your office":

Wayne: Limbo, anyone? (*buzz!*)
Greg: (following something along the ground, looks up) Colin?!
Colin: (waves) Hi. (*buzz!*)
Ryan: (pressing imaginary button) My boss will see you now.
Colin: Well, take your finger off my dick. (Ryan grabs the imaginary penis and wraps it over Colin's shoulder)

    • A playing of "Party Quirks" had Ryan as an activities leader of a nudist camp. He used his extra long imaginary penis for everything, from ringing the doorbell to using it as a sundial to using it as a jump rope to using it for the target in horseshoe throwing.
  • Gainaxing: Mimed with hands by the male cast whenever Baywatch or Xena: Warrior Princess had to be parodied.
  • Gallows Humor: Ryan will frequently "hang himself" during scenes.
    • Also, a playing of "Superheroes" cast Brad as "Suicide Boy". Somehow, he was able to make that funny. "Sweet propane, take me away."

"(stands up, laughing-) This isn't working! It's an electric stove!"

  • Genre Popularizer: While there have been sketch comedy shows on TV before Whose Line, none quite followed this show's format, so it stood out. Drew even lampshaded this in one episode:

Drew: Welcome back to "Whose Line is it Anyway", the show that the Emmys just don't have a category for.

  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pretty much the whole point of If You Know What I Mean. Ironically, the crap that doesn't get past the radar has drawn some of the biggest laughs.
    • Though that one refers to Brad saying "two-hundred pound snatch", which actually made it to air the first time and was bleeped out on all subsequent airings. The reason it made it to air is because a "snatch" is a legitimate name for a weightlifting exercise, which Brad helpfully mimes right after he says it.
    • From Scenes from a Hat, the recurring "Things you can say about X but not your girlfriend" suggestion, and some one-time ideas like "Things that sound dirty, but aren't", which the players went to town with.
    • One that has surprisingly never been censored initially has "Things you can say to your dog but not your girlfriend" and Colin stands forward, positions himself as though talking to a dog and says "Come!"
      • And he doesn't just SAY it, he makes the "C'mere" gesture with his hand.
    • Changed Letter would also be perverted into this at times. "Wayne's got a fig old futt!"

"Nice genis."
"You weren't out shooting any... male deer?"

    • During a playing of Film, TV & Theater Styles, the next style was "horror". Ryan looked at Kathy and said, "You mean you two aren't married? You whore.", playing up the fact that "whore" and "horror" sound so much alike if you don't enunciate. Amazingly, "whore" was left uncensored.
    • Possibly the most blatant case ever was during one session of Hollywood Director where the first suggestion was "do it like you're college girls going wild at Mardi Gras". The end result was certainly Brain Bleach-worthy.
    • Greg during a 'Scenes From a Hat' round for 'Anecdotes dogs would tell if they appeared on talk shows': "Yeah, I'm Drew Carey's dog. And, uh, you know, right around eleven o'clock he breaks out the peanut butter and I know what's comin'!" This one actually made it to air, surprisingly enough (assuming you get what it's referring to.)
    • This example, from a "Hollywood Director" where Ryan played a gas station attendant:

Ryan: Would you like me to fill 'er up?
Kathy Greenwood: (impatiently) I've said yes to that question fifteen times!
Ryan: How 'bout the car?

  • Going Postal: During the one playing of "Survival Show", Wayne's character threatens to go postal on Ryan and Colin by miming taking out a shotgun after they refuse to sing along with him. Appropriately enough, the scene took place in a post office.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: In a "Foreign Film Dub" with Swedish as the language, Drew slips in English words amidst his fake Swedish:

Drew: Farda farda Ikea, farda farda... unbelievable prices!

  • Groin Attack: One "Weird Newscasters" had Ryan as someone who was hit in the crotch with a football.
    • During one "Let's Make A Date," Wayne's quirk involves him being handcuffed to Colin. In all the running around Colin has to do for his persona (a 40's gangster in a failed bank robbery), Wayne accidentally slams his crotch into a stool. This, and the face he makes, sets the audience off.
    • And there's a Newsflash where the footage was of skateboarders wiping out and landing on railings crotch-first.
  • Halloween Episode: The US version had one of these.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Oh so very much.
  • Hand Wave: Generally, the solutions to the problems in "Superheroes" are either glossed over entirely or given some sort of quick fix.
    • Done literally in a session of Sound Effects, with Colin and Ryan as Jedi pilots. Thanks to one lightsaber sound coming up too soon, Ryan mimes his own leg getting chopped off by accident. Guess how Colin rectifies it.
  • Hands-On Approach: Performed by Ryan on Kathy Griffin during "Hollywood Director" when he played a "hunky golf pro".
  • Hangover Sensitivity: The premise of the short-lived game "Really Bad Hangover". Probably due to being extremely similar to "Sound Effects", it was only played once.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Colin, during a "Greatest Hits of Women":

Ryan: "I don't know about you, but I love 'em."
Colin: "I love 'em... more! ...I'm not insecure about my sexual identity! I LOVE WOMEN!" (shifty eyes) "Sleep." (taps Ryan's head) "You will forget I ever said that. Awake."

  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Done deliberately in "Action Replay" so that the second pair of performers (usually Ryan and Colin) don't know what the first performers did for a scene and have to make up their own. An amusing Running Gag is how Colin or Ryan often wince and say "Ow!" when they bring the headphones close to their ears, due to how loud the music coming out of them is.
  • Here We Go Again: Occasionally happens if Drew accidentally says that the next game is the same game they just got done playing. The performers often pretend to start the entire scene again. One time, Colin and Ryan just pointed and laughed.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: You can't have Colin Mochrie without Ryan Stiles!
    • Ryan appeared without Colin in earlier British episodes, and while a competent enough player alone, there was no hint of the hilarity they would achieve together.
    • Colin has only ever appeared in one episode without Ryan, which also happened to be his first appearance on the show.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Ryan starred as two different characters in both the Hot Shots! movies. And followed Drew from the set of The Drew Carey Show, of course.
    • Mike McShane from the British version was also Friar Tuck in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Clive refers to this one time in his Couch Gag intro).
    • Colin appears in the Jackie Chan movie The Tuxedo as the snooty gallery owner who discourages Jackie's character from asking out the attractive woman who works there. At the end of the film, as part of their "thank you" for his help, the government agents drag Colin away so Jackie can talk to the woman.
    • Chip got a job on Cold Case as a DJ from The Fifties. The role fit him like a glove.
    • Going back to the UK version:
      • Tony Slattery can be seen in a small but noticeable role in 1992 meme producer The Crying Game. He could also be found in Peter's Friends as a supporting role (and knew co-stars Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson, and Hugh Laurie dating back to their days at Cambridge).
      • In Paul Merton's case, this is an inversion as he's much more well known these days for being one of the main panelists on Have I Got News for You. It could very well be the case that contemporary viewers will shout, "Hey, it's that guy!" when watching Whose Line, rather than the other way around.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Greg Proops was the English-speaking podracing announcer in Star Wars Episode I. He's also Bob the Builder, in the U.S. version anyway.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Since the program tapes in four-hour blocks, they can edit some of the more flavorful ones out, but they will keep many of them (and even have special "Too Hot for Whose Line" episodes with some).
  • Hint Dropping: Games of "Greatest Hits" usually feature Ryan trying to prompt Colin into guessing what the next music style will be. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it... doesn't, leading to instances like the one in which Ryan asked Colin what he likes to put on his chips:

Colin: Why, a little bit of paper.
Ryan: Say the paper is a little bland, what would you put on it to spice it up?
Colin: Salt.
Ryan: ...sa. Salsa!

  • Home Game: During a "Scenes From a Hat", Greg pretended to be a door-to-door salesman selling the home version of Whose Line is it Anyway?. No such game actually exists, however.
    • One game of Party Quirks starts with Chip as the host claiming to have this home game, "it came with an inflatable Drew doll!"
      • Probably because they thought no one would ever pay for something they could pretty much make at home for next-to-nothing. There are plenty of people who still have "Whose Line" parties today.
  • Hollywood California: The taping site for the last UK season and the American run. The cast takes full advantage by mentioning the LAPD, the traffic in the area, and the woefully bad Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Parodied in this Hollywood Director, among other skits.
    • Unavoidable in "Film Dub", due to the players not seeing the footage beforehand. A few playings of "Film Dub" even featured Eastern films, such as one in the U.K. version where the scene was a barber shop... despite being set in a karate dojo.
  • How Many Fingers?: Said after the "Party Quirks" where Ryan broke the neon night on Drew's desk with his head. Ryan answered "four", and Drew said it was close enough. Then, Ryan asked the same question while giving Drew the finger.
  • Ho Yay: Invokved. So much, and generally when the show is at its funniest. See this bit with Richard Simmons, notable for being one of the only times over both the show's runs that Colin breaks character.
    • A Foursome Is Manly
    • Ryan and Colin have kissed several times throughout the shows run.
      • To the point where Colin knew the feel of Ryan's lips on his head as opposed to somebody else's.
    • Behold a collection of Whose Line Ho Yay.
    • Colin wants to be Ryan's Wife
    • "By the way, we're not a couple!" "...When did that happen-" "SHUT UP."
    • Robin Williams, completely turning the skit homoerotic: "Oh, 'work hard, work hard'. Last night you didn't say that."
    • Song Titles would often wind up like this due to the limited nature of song titles.
    • Subverted when Drew makes a comment about WLIIA being the show where one can never be too rich or too gay and all four male contestents point to their wedding bands. Drew then quips he's never known a married gay man.
    • A suggestion in "Scenes From a Hat" was "when a kiss is completely out of line", and the result was hilarious.

Wayne: Your kid's been beatin' up my kid! (Colin kisses him)

    • After a commercial break once, Drew said: "Welcome back to Whose Line is it Anyway, the show with the most same sex mouth-to-mouth kissing in the history of television."
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: During "Scenes From a Hat", one of the suggestions was "Things that make the audience boo". Ryan's example was miming pushing an old lady into oncoming traffic. While some boos were heard, there were also a lot of laughs and applause. Ryan seemed genuinely surprised at the mixed reaction.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: The "If You Know What I Mean" game.
  • Hurricane of Puns: When Colin is the main anchor in "Weird Newscasters", he frequently puns a familiar saying, often with a complicated set-up to the pun. Examples: "You can lead a whore to water, but you can't make her think", "This may be the first recorded incidence of a knick-knack paddy whack", etc. And that's not even counting his punny anchor names.
    • Subverted at one point: "Hello, I'm Quite Hung."
    • Another example:

Colin: Bars across America were saddened today by the death of Dr. Joseph Lowenstein. The famous doctor who, as a sideline, would make exotic drinks from wood sap, died suddenly today. This is one patron who is really gonna miss that hickory daiquiri doc.

    • An even longer one is the flower-selling monks:

Colin: Famous Playboy Hugh Hefner successfully managed to stop an order of monks from operating a business on his property. The police forced the friars to close down their stall, which was outside the Playboy mansion, where they had been selling flowers. Said one friar, "Well, if it was anyone else we could've gotten away from it, but unfortunately, only Hugh can prevent florist friars."

    • Or this one:

Colin: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer dead at 53. (audience reacts) I know, it is sad. Over Barcelona today the famed reindeer was hit by a flock of seagulls and a 747. Eyewitnesses report that the reindeer in Spain was hit mainly by the plane.

Drew: Boy, if I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me...
Ryan: You'd have a dime.

  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: One skit had Ryan (Jim Bowey) accidentally shoot Colin (Davey Crocket) because he thought his gun was empty.
  • Impersonation Paradox: Ryan's John Wayne, which got more and more exaggerated the more he did it. Also Colin's Humphrey Bogart, where he added constant mouth twitches that I don't think Bogart did.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Noted actor Peter Cook appeared on an early episode of the UK version. Apparently, someone had taken him out for a drink to "loosen up," before the show began. He is quite clearly drunk throughout the episode. This didn't improve things.
    • It happens in a game of "Bartender", where Wayne's quirk is being in love with Chip. Cue him entering the bar and locking the door, looking over his shoulder at Chip in a suggestive manner.

Chip: I think I need the drink.

  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Frequently seen on Greatest Hits, when Ryan presents a riddle to Colin, where the answer is the next music style. In one instance, Ryan asked Colin what it's called when you rock a goat to sleep. Colin replied, "A grilled cheese." A confused Ryan then says, "No, rockabilly!" The audience groans at the lame pun, and Ryan adds, "...Or maybe it IS "grilled cheese"."
    • Brad, during "Questions Only": "Do you have a thong [song] in your heart?" (audience groans)
    • This one from "Greatest Hits"'s "Songs of the Safari":

Ryan: What comes before "so good"?
Colin: ...Pretty... good?
Ryan: No, "safari"! Safari so good. See what I'm saying? (audience groans)
Colin: Why Ryan! That's almost like humor!

    • Also, Colin in this Shoplifting Hoedown.

The other day I stole something, it really was a sin.
It was a little revolver made of gelatin.
It really was a bad idea, something I should've slept on,
Cause I was arrested for carrying a congealed weapon.

    • He is king of this trope, as evidenced in another hoedown, coincidentally also about being arrested:

I am quite unbalanced, my mind is not that steady,
I once pummeled a guy with an Ever Ready,
They took me down to jail, and they arrested me,
And they charged me with assault with a battery!

    • In "Greatest Hits", Colin mentioned liking The Supremes (as in, Diana Ross and The Supremes). Ryan added: "I liked the Ethyls, too."
      • Similarly, in a playing of "Hollywood Director", Ryan made this joke: "Fill 'er up with ethyl? You don't look like Lucy!"
    • In yet another playing of Greatest Hits ("Songs of Horror"), Ryan talked about how he was feeling a little jittery and that he also thought he had a bug. He used this as a segue for the musical genre ("Jittery bug? Jitterbug!"), cue Collective Groan from the audience. Colin spent the rest of the game making fun of Ryan by telling anecdotes to introduce the next song with an intentionally contrived pun.
    • During the "Remote Control" about chickens, Jeff (as a televangelist) said: "Thou hast befowled the Earth."
    • In "Greatest Hits", Ryan said: "Christmas in Hawaii: Don Ho ho ho."
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: Drew has remarked more than once to Wayne and Ryan before "Weird Newscasters" that if they come near his desk to include him in a skit, he'll kill them. That didn't stop either from doing so anyway, though, such as in an episode when Ryan was a weatherman who used bodies as weather maps, and pointed to Drew's crotch, indicating to boaters that there was a "small craft warning".
  • Info Dump: More common in the earlier seasons of the show when the games had to be explained to the audience in greater detail because they were new back then. One particular instance of a long-winded explanation was at the start of "Number of Words", where Drew not only had to explain that each performer could only use a certain number of words, but had to explain the scene, and assign the number of words for each performer. After all that, he said, "Did you get all that? Because I'm not repeating it!"
    • Lampshaded in a later episode before "Greatest Hits". Drew gets the topic that the cast has to make songs about, and goes into laborious detail about the concept of the game. Ryan interrupts: "We've all played the game before, Drew."
  • Inherently Funny Words: Why the non-punny names in Newscasters get laughs from the audience.
  • Innocent Innuendo: During a playing of "Hats", Wayne is wearing a taxi hat and tells the customer, "That'll be $12.50." The audience reacts like expected, and Wayne says, "For the TAXI CAB RIDE! You guys are horrible!"
  • Insane Proprietor: Drew has more than once given points in the style of a proprietor who's overstocked on points and has to unload them.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: For both the U.K. and U.S. versions.
  • Insult Misfire: A variant, during a Greatest Hits about presidents, as Colin "thought" Ryan was talking about himself:

Colin: You know, a few years back, there was a new wave of music. And I was first to get my metaphorical surfboard and go on that new wave.
Ryan: Ooh! That's a big word for a Canadian.
Colin: Yeah. If you want, I can talk slower.

  • Intercourse with You: About half of the songs take this direction. It shold be noted that "Song Styles" and "Duets" didn't become like this until after it switched to picking audience members in UK season 10.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: During the "Greatest Hits" about "Songs of Hockey", Colin remarked: "And on this CD compilation, we have more hits than a porn website!"
  • Irony: In the "salute to American TV" episode:

Drew: Tonight, Whose Line salutes great American television. Kinda ironic, isn't it?

    • At the beginning of World's Worst:

Wayne: You're going to be giving examples of the world's worst television program
Drew: The world's worst television program...really?

    • From the British version, in which the "Worst television program" also turned up.

Tony: Look, it's that show where Clive patronizes people from all over the world!
Clive Anderson: Don't bring Clive James into this.

  • Island Help Message: In a "Weird Newscasters", Ryan played a man stranded on a desert island, and mimed doing this when a plane came overhead. Amusingly, he first wrote "Hep" but then added an "L" in there.
    • One game of Props in the UK version involved a V-shaped prop, prompting Ryan to suggest spelling out "Very Much Help Is Needed" instead.
  • Is This Thing On?: During a game of "Hats", Greg had a bunny mask on and said, "I'm not into protection." The audience barely reacted, and Drew suggested he do it again because they probably didn't hear him. Greg then delivered a hilarious retort: "Oh could no one hear me? Maybe it's because of this (bleep)ing mask I'm wearing."
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: During a "Hollywood Director" where Ryan and Greg were rival bikers having a drag race, the theme switched to loving the feel of carpet on their skin. Wayne (who was playing Greg's boyfriend) crawled on top of Greg, who was lying down, and Greg wrapped one of his legs around Wayne before being buzzed out. After the game, Drew remarked how homoerotic Greg straddling Wayne was.

Wayne: It was for the scene, dude.
Ryan: Hey Drew, what happens on the show stays on the show.
Greg: Gee whiz, Drew, don't you remember my audition?

    • In a playing of "Greatest Hits", Colin mentions that Little Richard used to pronounce his name "Little Rishahrd".
    • In a "Hoedown", Ryan pronounced "creature" as "cre-cheer" in order to rhyme with the previous line's word ("fear") properly.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The cast often mocked their own difficulty at speaking in believable foreign accents.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Only the first U.K. season, the first U.S. season, and a best-of for the U.S. version are all we've gotten on DVD so far, and it's doubtful we'll be getting much more in the near future. That said, the show still plays on both ABC Family and BBC America (albeit only episodes made after 1994 in the latter's case).
  • Kill'Em All: The "Weird Newcasters" where Ryan plays a mercenary out to kill everyone on the show. He can't quite catch Colin, though.
  • Even Heroes Have Heroes: Noticeably in effect when David Hasselhoff appeared on the show.
  • Knock-Knock Joke: This one, from a "Greatest Hits" playing:

Ryan: Knock knock knock!
Colin: Who's there?
Ryan: Traveling salesman!
Colin: Traveling salesman who? (Ryan is thrown for a loop; apparently he wasn't trying to do a knock knock joke)

  • If You Know What I Mean: One of the games involves ending every sentence with the phrase "if you know what I mean" to see how many double entendres they can come up with for the scenario.
    • Also done in a non-If You Know What I Mean game: During "Weird Newscasters", Wayne played an Italian stud and said, "Sometimes when I'm out, and I'm running with the bulls, IF you know what I mean..." As mentioned under Ear Worm above, it's habit-forming.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Wow. Nice segue.
    • During a "Greatest Hits" about sci-fi, Colin played with the formula by appearing alongside Wayne during the songs and pretending it was a music video. After the first song (which featured quite a bit of dancing), Ryan lampshaded how they shot the music video weeks ago and yet Colin still looks tired. He further lampshaded by asking if that's the only shirt Colin owns.
  • Large Ham: Everyone who was on the show, ever.
    • A special mention goes to Tony Slattery, who even became the subject of an "in the style of" finale by the three other players (Greg, Colin and Ryan).
  • Large Ham Announcer: "Sportscasters" or "Sports Commentators" is a game in which two of the performers act out a mundane activity, such as being competing hot dog vendors, while the other two provide commentary as if it were a sporting event.
    • Lampshaded in one Scenes From A Hat game involving "Things that don't sound right if a cheesy announcer said them".

Drew: I'm Drew... "Mr. Carey", if you're nasty.

  • Leitmotif: Each playing of "Improbable Mission" always used the same background tune (in the U.S. version, it was "Hit and Run", which was more famous for its use on The Ren and Stimpy Show). The same goes for "Narrate" and "Hey, You Down There!"
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Ryan and Colin, but especially during "Greatest Hits" when they occasionally bicker (all an act, of course). It most often comes out when Ryan makes a joke and Colin doesn't laugh as long as Ryan would like, making Ryan feel like an idiot for laughing alone.
    • Or if Ryan uses the word blue too much.
    • Clive and Greg act like this during the British series.
  • Literal-Minded: During a "Greatest Hits", Colin says, "Get out of town and take a bus!" Ryan stands up and starts to leave, before being coaxed back by Colin.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The UK version regularly cycled out performers in early episodes. By contrast, every episode in the US version featured Colin and Ryan, and only a few early episodes had Wayne absent.
  • Lounge Lizard: Shows up in some sketches.
  • Love Confession: Played for laughs in one episode. Out of nowhere, Drew says, "I love you, Ryan Stiles." A disturbed Ryan replies, "Can we just... talk about this later?" Drew ignores him and says, "You know, I hardly say this to anyone, but you know, chaps would really make that outfit", continuing a running gag of mocking Ryan's western-style shirt.
    • Also during an Improbable Mission, where Colin and Ryan are scaling a building.

Ryan: By the way I love you.
Colin: Stop it!

  • Love Triangle: Seen in many games, notably "Dubbing" with special guest Joanie Laurer and later, Florence Henderson. The games inevitably boiled down to the woman having to decide whether to stay with her spouse or go with her current fling. In Laurer's case, Colin and Ryan decided who would get her with a dance-off, while in Florence's case, it was decided by who was the best kisser.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: any music-based game, but sometimes invoked in Scenes From a Hat and others.
  • Malaproper: Upon getting a question about transvestites in "The Millionaire Show", Ryan remarked that he didn't know anything about vampires. Colin immediately said, "Transvestites! Not "Transylvanians", ya moron!"
  • Mathematician's Answer: During a "Greatest Hits", Colin demonstrated this by answering one of Ryan's questions with a flat "Yeah" instead of elaborating as well:

Ryan: Styles come and styles go, but they're all on this CD set, including a long-gone style, grunge. 'Member grunge?
Colin: Yeah?
Ryan: (Beat) ...Well, it's on this CD set.
Colin: Well I didn't know you wanted me to act-
Ryan: (annoyed) You could help me out on this a bit, I can't sell the CDs all by myself.

Ryan: I guess you want me against the wall again.
Chip: Well, that's the title of the movie, so you better do it.

  • Metaphorgotten: During the "Infomercial" about face lifts, Colin says:

Colin: ...Because a good face... blah blah blah.

    • During the "Scenes Cut From a Movie" suggestion of Forrest Gump:

Brad: (as Forrest) Life is kinda like a bag with a bunch of bugs in it... ya open it, and it all just spreads out all over the floor.

  • Milestone Celebration: The US version had a special 100th episode. There was also an episode where Drew celebrated that it's the one-millionth point ever given away on the show (which was inaccurate, being that Drew gave away billions of points before, but hey).
  • Mistaken for Gay: Possibly because of kissing, licking, and miming sex acts on each other a few times on the show, some fans apparently got the idea that Ryan and Colin were gay. Drew had to say, "And listen, for the thousands of you who have written in, NO, Colin and Ryan are NOT a couple."

Colin: *aside to Ryan* When did that happen?
Ryan: Shut up.

Wayne: (cheerful) "Hey, it's from my girl! (opens letter) Dear John...."

    • At the end of a sketch, Drew awards points like normal. And then suddenly Drew turns to the side of his desk and coughs. A concerned Wayne asks, "Drew, do you...?" Suddenly Drew sits up and spits a mint, and complains on how he nearly choked to death on an Altoid on TV. And we're back to laughing again.
      • Drew even lampshades the mood whiplash by saying, "Ha ha, he almost died." Chip loved that joke.
    • Arguably, there is very brief Mood Whiplash in the playing of "Party Quirks" when Ryan's head slams into the neon light on Drew's desk and breaks it. For a moment, the audience reacts with concern that he was badly hurt, but they go back to laughing when Ryan announces he's OK and continues with the scene.
      • Despite the collective gasp from pretty much everybody else in the studio, Colin seems immune to this trope and begins laughing his ass off immediately.
      • Lampshaded twice by Ryan in that episode: once during the same scene where without breaking character (Carol Channing) he asks if he's bleeding, then again during a hoedown at the end.
    • In one Infomercial (the "product" being a program to stop drinking), Colin finds a fishing pole-like device, sticks the tube in Ryan's mouth, and starts cranking. Drew hurriedly stops them, telling them that it's a utility lighter. Afterwards, Ryan jokes about it. (Drew: "Well, he was putting it right in your mouth and he was about to crank it, and I was like 'Woah!'" Ryan: "If I had a nickel for every time that's happened!")
    • Another was during the cockroach Newsflash game. Which starts out as anything with cockroaches would but then they start dancing. The audience switches from groans and 'yuck's to confused laughter rather quickly.
  • Motor Mouth: Clive Anderson, especially in his closing address ("Andthisisme, Clive Anderson, sayingoodnightgoodnight!") Parodied by Rory Bremner when his Party Quirk was to act like Clive.
  • Mundane Afterlife: Apparently Hell has a PA system and television. And Michael Bolton music, and Drew's desk.

Drew: [speaks mock Japanese]
Ryan: I have to eat quick, I'm due back at the sumo ring.

    • Speaking of France, in a playing of "Helping Hands" where Ryan played a French teacher, Ryan made an out of nowhere remark: "That Jerry Lewis, he cracks me up."
    • In a playing of "Weird Newscasters" where Wayne played an Italian stud (and hit on Drew Carey), Greg remarked: "Grazie bene, Wayne. Like all Italian guys, you have strange tastes in women."
  • Never Say "Die": the game "Dead Bodies" actually got renamed into "Fainting Bodies" for a brief while during the UK run. Fortunately it didn't stick.
  • Never Say That Again: During a playing of "Narrate", Ryan says to the camera that he knew Colin from years back when the sheriff caught him giving his wife a lube job. He said he wouldn't bring it up because he knew it was a touchy subject, but immediately after, says to Colin, "Haven't seen you since the lube job." Colin erupts and ends his tirade with, "Never mention that again!"
  • Nice Hat (The Hats game, of course.)
    • Song Styles would sometimes involve these hats too, given to all four players.
  • Nice Shoes: Ryan's gotten plenty of comments on his shoes.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Multiple Personalities would sometimes end with everyone dumping all three items in the hands of one player, usually Ryan, who is forced to act as three different characters at the same time. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Played straight with the premise of Make-A-Monster.
  • No Dialogue Game: "Sound Effects", when Ryan's got the mic.
  • No Ending: Due to the nature of the show, scenes often end abruptly if Clive or Drew buzzes the performers out, even if the conflict hadn't been resolved yet. Occasionally, they'll ignore it and continue the scene to more buzzing.
  • No Fourth Wall: Ranging from mild ones, like talking into the camera, to just running into the audience and around the studio, as part of the games sometimes, but usually for laughs.
    • This skit of Newsflash takes the concept of "Meta-Example" to a whole new level.
    • The premise of Film Noir involves the players doing their own Private Eye Monologue, which winds up like this.
  • No Name Given: Before the "Number of Words" about "Rocky", Drew says that Wayne plays Rocky's (Colin's) tough-talking opponent. Wayne remarks, "I don't even get a name?" Drew replies, "Apollo. Call yourself "Apollo" if you want to."
    • In a playing of "Action Replay", Wayne started the scene by calling Greg "guide".
  • Noodle Incident: Parodied whenever the subject of how the players got parts on the show comes up, and sometimes at random moments - the clip under Noodle Implements below ends with this exchange:

Drew: "...and by the way, Colin's wife looooves that accent..."
Wayne: "I know..."

Colin: Hi! Do you have anything for Craig T. Nelson?

  • Now How Much Would You Pay?: Often said in both "Greatest Hits" and "Infomercial" about the CD album or product Ryan and Colin are selling. Always taken in weird directions, such as:

Colin: How much would you pay for a CD set like this?
Ryan: Well I work for the company, so I just grab all the free ones!

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Seen in a "Scenes From a Hat" suggestion: "What President Bush does in the Oval Office when he's all by himself." Wayne comes on stage as George W. Bush and, speaking in a scholarly tone, says that now that he's alone, he can do all the smart things he enjoys, such as reading Charles Dickens novels and the encyclopedia.
  • Off the Rails: Played straight due to the nature of the show, for any number of reasons ranging from forgetting rules, everyone cracking up or even equipment failure.

Drew: "I never even knew the Village People did polkas..."
Greg: "Watch out for those tempo changes man... when we reach the second bridge this sh* t takes off!"

    • This clip could be considered a case of Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
      • Similarly, this one. Everyone who's not Colin gives up the ghost.
      • There's another one (Irish Drinking Song about pregnancy) where Colin recites his running gag, but at the end. Wayne breaks down laughing, but everyone else does so only after ten seconds or so.
    • Invoked literally at the end of this episode, when Colin and Ryan read the credits as "cocky rollercoaster riders who have underestimated the size of this one", and after attempting to swing and lurch in sync, give up entirely and go off in different directions.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: the early playings of Props in the UK series would involve some pretty recognisable items, like kitchen utensils or snowshoes.

Stephen Fry: (with a sheet of bubble wrap) "Look, either the BBC believes in sci-fi or it doesn't, but how am I going to make 50 Daleks out of this?"

  • Oh Crap: Happens a few times during the guessing games, and literally when Wayne realises he read his card wrong.

Wayne: (after being "on Jerry Springer" for Party Quirks) "...lemme see that... (reads card) "Is On The "I Have A Secret" Episode On The South American Edition Of..." Ohhh craaaaap..."[7]

  • Oh, Hi There.: Parodied during "Scenes From a Hat": One of the suggestions was tapes that don't fly off the shelves at Blockbuster. Wayne comes on stage, mimes that he's taking a shower (or rubbing lotion on; it's rather vague), and says, "Oh hi there. I'm Drew Carey."
  • Old Shame: Drew's role as Mister Geppetto in the made-for-TV movie Geppetto.
    • Interestingly, no one makes fun of Wayne, who also appeared in the movie, although Wayne did mention being in it once.
    • A more direct example to the show itself, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie have said they will not watch their early appearances on the british version because of how nervous and unfunny they were then.
  • On Second Thought: Before a playing of "Greatest Hits", Drew asked for suggestions of a city. He took the suggestions of Paris and Amsterdam, pondered for a second, and tentatively chose Amsterdam. Ryan made a funny face and said "OK..." Drew promptly switched it back to Paris based on Ryan's comment and the crowd reaction.

Drew: (singing) Oh, the whores of Amsterdam...

  • Once an Episode: Drew would switch out with the "winner" for a game, which would often be Hoedown because he was consistently good at it. Evidently by later episodes, Ryan got tired of Hoedown really quickly. However, later episodes which were composed of unused footage often had Drew at his desk for the whole game, not participating in any games.
    • Bald jokes. Lampshaded by Ryan in the "Salute to Television" episode:

Drew: ...You're gonna do the sound effects for Colin. Colin's the bald one.
Ryan: (looking at watch) Aaaaaand, mark.

  • One-Scene Wonder: Josie Lawrence - while a regular on the original UK show - only appeared twice in the US version, but still managed to get a Crowning Moment Of Funny in her "Rejected restaurant themes" sketch and a Crowning Music of Awesome in, well, all of her songs, with the Gilbert and Sullivan parody being the best example.
    • Robin Williams, who easily adjusted to the improv atmosphere and provided many funny moments. Strangely though, we never got a second show composed of unused footage from Robin's taping.
  • One Steve Limit: Unintentional of course, but makes it remarkably easy to identify everyone on the show by firstname basis. Unless you count Kathy Greenwood and guests Kathy Griffin and Kathy Kinney.
      • Also, Steve Frost and Steve Steen from the UK version. They were even on the same episode once. (Clive introduced Steve F. as Stephen Frost to avoid confusion.) But it's still pretty ironic that a show that almost always (unintentionally) adheres to the One Steve Limit still manages to have four Steves.
      • In case anyone's wondering, the other two "Steves" were Stephen Fry and Stephen Colbert.
    • Jonathan Pryce and John Sessions appeared in a couple of the same episodes on the UK version as well, meaning Clive had to be careful to refer to them as "John" and "Jonathan", depending on who he was speaking to.
  • One-Woman Wail: parodied by Wayne in Three Headed Broadway Star's "I Lost My Legwarmers" and "Attooorniiieeee" from Greatest Hits "Songs of the Attorney".
  • Only Sane Man: several games, like Two Line Vocabulary or Weird Newscasters, invoke this trope by taking the Straight Man concept and cranking it Up to Eleven. It's usually Colin, too.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Naturally, this occurs when the cast has to speak in an accent for a scene. One game of Hollywood Director, Ryan flat out stated this would likely happen during the scene: "Let me just say this Spanish guy has some Italian in him." Another game started with Ryan declaring that he's Not Even Bothering with the Accent.
    • That same Hollywood Director had Kathy declaring she also had Canadian and Swedish ancestry, Ryan remarking that the three of them (Wayne was the third) all came from different parts of Spain, and then Kathy mentioning that they might actually be in Mexico.
    • Another time, in "Film, TV & Theater Styles", a scene changed to "Australian soap opera". Wayne, Colin, and Ryan began speaking in Australian accents (bad ones, too), but Colin quickly reverted to his regular accent and even lampshaded this by saying his accent was gone and had to find it.
    • A subversion is seen in a playing of "The Millionaire Show" that features Jerry Springer as the theme. Ryan starts the skit talking like he normally does, but when he goes to call Kathy, he suddenly has a Southern accent. Ryan, upon realizing this, quickly lampshades it:

Ryan: Hey, ssshh, when I talk to her, I talk with an accent. I don't want her to know where I'm from.

    • Another time, during a German Millionaire game, Greg actually mentions this trope:

Greg: "Now you know you have two lifelines, you can go to them at any time when asked a question. Or if my accent slips to another country you may call me on that."

    • In a "Helping Hands" where Ryan was a French man, Ryan's accent was muddled throughout the scene, and finally he lampshaded it:

Ryan: ...Am I Italian or French??

  • Or So I Heard: Ryan often pretends to act innocent after a scene that involves something sexual. After the sole playing of "Meet the Family" where he played a dominatrix, he said, "I don't really know what dominatrixes do... IF they hook electricity up to people's nipples, I wouldn't know anything about that."
    • After a game that involved miming a strip club, Ryan pretended that he didn't know what a strip club was. Drew had to explain that it's a place where women take off their clothes for money.
    • After a Newsflash where the clips were of Jerry Springer episodes, Drew asked what was up with the fish guy in one of the clips. Ryan described what occurred on that episode... and quickly followed by saying he didn't watch it but saw a clip for it.
    • After a Party Quirks where Ryan was a series of delivery men in porno films, Ryan said he had to imagine what those kind of characters must act like. Colin then laughed sarcastically.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Played with in "Backwards Scene"; one player would start with the punchline and have to create the joke leading up to it next.
  • Overly Long Name: Maria's last name in the "Dubbing" about West Side Story.
    • Brad once named himself "Chester Snapdragon McFisticuffs" in Newsflash.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: played with often during Clive's Couch Gag intro.

"Featuring tonight, the Jolly Green Giant, Steve Frost; the jolliest man to come out of Canada since Leonard Cohen, Colin Mochrie; the jolliest man to come out of Canada since Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles; and finally the jolliest man to come out Great Britain called Tony Slattery, Tony Slattery!"

  • Overly Prepared Gag: If Colin's the first ("normal") person in "Weird Newscasters", expect the top story of the day to be one of these.
    • In the "Greatest Hits" about "Songs of Horror", Colin mocked Ryan's earlier pun ("Jittery bug? JITTERBUG!") by telling a story about how he went to a circus and saw a man bend a car. "Bend a car? PAT BENATAR!" and another story about how he used to be a horse jockey and that they used to put sanitary paper on cots for the fillies to sleep on. "Wait a minute: Bed cot filly paper? RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS!"
    • A Ryan example, also from "Greatest Hits":

Ryan: One of my favorite artists is Liberace. He didn't sing much; he played. But a song style I like even better was done by his sister, Mary. And mariachi music... (audience laughs) Long way to go for that one, huh?

Drew: She made you look downright skinny.
Wayne: Yeah!
Drew: You took your shirt off, I was like, (disappointed) "Ohhhhh."

  • Phlebotinum-Induced Stupidity: Seen in a playing of "Improbable Mission" where an unknown device makes Colin and Ryan temporarily stupid.
  • Pie in the Face: Seen during an early U.S. playing of "Helping Hands", when Drew hit Ryan with a pie. A later playing had Drew geared up to throw a sundae in Ryan's face; Ryan quickly threatened, "Oh, you better think twice about that, my friend." Drew relented and set the sundae down.
  • Piss-Take Rap: Colin and Ryan, in particular, for "Scene to Rap". Drew even sarcastically references this before one of the playings:

Drew: Because when I think of rappers, I think of these guys standing right here.

    • In an episode of the UK version, Clive made made a similar joke about them during the same game:

Clive: They're going to be helped out by Laura Hall, but hindered later on by Colin and Ryan.

    • Arguably the entire premise of the old Rap game from the UK version.
    • Greg has one of the most memorable screw-ups of the entire show in a deleted scene where he completely fails at rapping and ends up just interrupting the game by declaring that he's [bleeping] things up too badly for them to keep going.
  • Pistol-Whipping: During a playing of "Two-Line Vocabulary", Colin, Ryan and Wayne are three soldiers in a foxhole and Colin is already losing his cool with the other two:

Colin: I have an idea.
Wayne: I don't think so.
Colin: I do.
Wayne: I don't think so!
Colin: Butt! (hits Wayne with his "gun")
Wayne: Aaah! (collapses)

  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: From Party Quirks, there's "series of delivery guys in porn films".
  • The Points Mean Nothing: Of course. Clive would never tell the audience outright and would pantomime tallying the totals, while Drew makes it very clear at the start of every episode and turned it into his Catch Phrase.
    • Subverted in one US episode where the points did matter and the players acted more competitive than normal. Double Subverted when in the end, they still didn't matter after all.
    • Drew Carey liked to award 'a thousand points' for everything, while Clive Anderson occasionally had 'millions of points for that...just to make you stop!'
      • After three-player games, Clive would often only award points to the one contestant who didn't take part. He took this to its logical extreme once, when he awarded 50 million points to Tony Slattery after a game of Film Dub. Not only was Tony not part of that game, he wasn't even in the studio. (Greg, Mike, Josie, and Ryan were that episode's contestants.)
      • One of the US members of the British show related a story how, after it was shown in the States (before the US one was made), he was harangued by a guy in the street how Clive's points made no sense. The explanation "they are a joke" was met with the rant "You're telling me! They make no sense."
  • Practical Joke: A "Scenes From a Hat" suggestion:

Colin: "Practical joke: See "fooling somebody"." (mimes flipping pages of dictionary) "Fooling somebody: See "Practical joke"." (flips back)

Greg: I have a giant fish head on. I'm 42 (bleep)ing years old.

    • See the example in Is This Thing On? above for another great Greg line.
    • After Drew was rejected to use "Bill Cosby and Adolf Hitler" for "Title Sequence", he got the replacement suggestion from the audience, "Bill Cosby and the Insurance Salesman", and said:
    • In the U.K. version, after a game of "Party Quirks", Tony told Clive to bleep off. He was awarded no points as a result.
    • One episode of season 8 of the US version (which was actually from a taping during season 1) had Greg delivering two of these. The first was early on in Scene to Rap when he wound up messing up one of his rhymes: "This is school, as you can see, I'm a principal for thee. I'm the principal, that's true - and I'm (bleep)ing this thing up, man." The game actually stopped completely and they redid the game from the beginning. Later in Hats, he was wearing a mask that looked like a Klingon from Star Trek and he said, "I'm a Klingon by trade..." which only caused a small amount of laughter from the audience, so he added "and when I'm not funny, I sit here with this (bleep)ing thing on my head."
  • Prima Donna Director: Colin, during "Hollywood Director".
  • Prison Rape: jokes about this are unavoidable any time prisons are brought up... unless they make it prison consensual sex instead.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Parodied constantly in "Narrate".
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: After a playing of "Let's Make a Date" where Ryan portrayed "Drew Carey: The Musical", Chip asked who Ryan was, since Drew abruptly ended the game before Chip could guess. Drew said it was "Drew Carey: The Musical", and Chip and Wayne just smiled, trying hard not to laugh.

Chip: I didn't hear... I didn't get that at all.
Wayne: That wasn't funny at all.

  • Pun-Based Title: The "Greatest Hits" songs often fall into this: "Doorbell Wizard", "Pizza Heck Out of Me", "Hey You, Get Off McCloud", "You Brought Her, You Caesar", among others.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: One time, Colin shouted: "WHAT. THE. HELL. IS. GOING. ON. HERE?!"
    • Three Headed Broadway Star always winds up like this (it's unavoidable though).
    • For some reason, Colin delivered the name of a song in "Greatest Hits" in this manner:

Colin: ROULETTE, OF, LOVE!

    • During a "Hollywood Director":

Colin: Do it like stand-up comics. Like STAND. UP. COMICS!

    • Don't forget the Wheel. Of. Mucus!
    • In "Bartender", Colin began the song by singing like this: "DON'T. YOU. MAKE. FUN. OF. MY. FEET."
  • Pungeon Master: Everyone at some point. Usually Colin or Ryan.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: All the games are this to an extent, although "Two Line Vocabulary" is particuarly this, due to its Who's on First? style.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Done a few times in "Award Show" or "Director".
  • Rearrange the Song: The first few episodes of the U.S. version's first season. This theme music was remixed to the more well-known version that was used for the vast majority of the series.
  • Recitation Handclasp: In a segment of Greatest Hits on the American version, Wayne and Josie sing a song about chiropractors in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan, assuming this position as a parody of those types of songs. And it's awesome.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why was Kathy Greenwood never featured in any singing games? Did she request not to be featured in them because she thought she'd do badly or was embarrassed? (She's had to sing several times in Scenes from a Hat, Hollywood Director and other games, and didn't sound bad at all.)
    • Furthermore, why was Mike McShane never featured on the U.S. version, while Josie Lawrence (a native Brit complete with accent) was?
  • Robo Speak: Colin, during "Number of Words" as C-3PO: "My pants... metal." Though to elaborate: Colin was only allowed to say three words, so he had to cut his sentence short. As a happy coincidence, though, it worked for the purposes of his robot character.
    • In a playing of "Film, TV & Theater Styles", Ryan played a Terminator-style character who asked Colin, "May I have one of your tasty pork tubage?" (referring to hot dogs)
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Frequently done by Wayne, Brad, and/or Chip during "Greatest Hits" if hard rock or heavy metal is the music style. Also performed a few times in "Props" if the prop resembles a guitar.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: In a game of Party Quirks, the subtitle at the bottom of the screen informs the home audience that Mike McShane is playing a Columbian Drugs Baron. Shouldn't that be Colombian, producers?
  • Rule of Three: Ryan, during a "Scenes From a Hat" suggestion of "Latin American Soccer Announcers on Their Day Off":

Ryan: I'll have a cheeseburger, some fries, and a COOOOOOOOOOOOOOKE!!!! (leaves stage; comes back to give another suggestion) You forgot my COOOOOOOOOOOKE!!! (leaves; comes back again) WHERE THE HELL'S MY COOOOOOOOOOKE?!?!"

    • This is also present in some of the games themselves. For example, Greatest Hits usually features three songs, Hollywood Director shows three takes of the scene, and in guessing games like Party Quirks and Let's Make A Date, there are three performers with unusual personalities.
  • Running Gag: Enough to fill its own page.
  • Sarcasm Mode and Sincerity Mode: Hoedown is "everyone's favorite game in the whole wide world." The audience really does love it, but the cast (except for Drew) hates it. A lot. Either the audience is blissfully unaware of the sarcasm, or they're ignoring it.
    • An interesting in - game case:
    • An instance after "Hollywood Director":

Drew: 1,000 points to everybody, especially to you, Colin.
Colin: Why, thank you, Drew!
Drew: (feigned sincerity) 'Cause you know, you're the best director ever.
Colin: (feigned modesty) Gosh.
Drew: (to camera) I gotta humor him, 'cause he's bald.

    • In the "salute to American TV" episode, after the commercial break, this exchange occurred:

Drew: We really wanted to make tonight something special, but unfortunately, Mr. T wanted too much money.
Brad: (sarcastically) Salute to television!

  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: The basis of several games, and invoked in others out of necessity. Sometimes literally - Ryan has a habit of saying "squeaky squeaky" instead of something normal (also see under Running Gag above), and Wayne has actually said "slam" while miming closing a door once. Also averted on occasion - Archie Hahn in the UK run might have been too good at this, to the point that Paul would often mess with him; and Wayne makes disturbingly realistic fart sounds.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Only for Ryan Stiles - he really hated Hoedown in the US version.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: During a "Hoedown" about winning the lottery, Colin sang only two lines about that now that he's loaded, he could do anything he wanted. To which he proceeded to run into the audience, kiss a few girls, then come back and "punch" Wayne.
    • There's an earlier one in tthe UK clip show, where he stopped singing outright; and one session of "Weird Newscasters" where he's the co-anchor whose horse just won the race, and he actually yells "screw you" at his "colleagues".
  • Self-Deprecation: See the page quote. There's also Drew, who sometimes goes "the points don't mean anything, just like my Thigh Master (or Gym Bag other fitness thingy)..."
    • When Drew played "World's Worst" and the theme could potentially be used against him, he was generally the first to take advantage of it (presumably so nobody else would be able to do it after), like quoting The Drew Carey Show for "World's Worst TV Show" and saying "This is Drew Carey for Slim-Fast" during "World's Worst Celebrity Endorsement".

Ryan: Do you know anything about ice cream, Drew?
Drew: Only that I love to eat it, 'cause I'm fat, fat, fat!

    • The Running Gag of Ryan and Colin stepping out and doing nothing during the game of Scenes From a Hat, during such suggestions as "People who shouldn't rap".
    • In the Salute to Great American Television episode, Drew called it ironic that they were doing such a show.
  • Seven Minute Lull: In Scenes from a Hat, 'Things you don't want to be shouting at a party when the loud music suddenly stops'.
  • Shameless Self Promoter: Drew said after a game: "I'm gonna give 1,000 points on that one to Ryan Stiles, who can be seen every Wednesday at 9/8 central on "The Drew Carey Show", right here on ABC." Ryan remarked, "Shameless." Drew replied, "If I'm gonna give points, might as well make 'em worth my while."
    • The Whose Line game in US season 2 ep. 17 somehow has "don't miss The Drew Carey Show Wednesday nights on ABC" on one of the supposedly pre-written notes.

"...Wait, there's more; "Give the tall guy more lines"!"

Ryan: Now, what was it?
Colin: Burnoose.
Ryan: Any idea what it looks like?
Colin: It looks like... a burnoose!

    • One time Drew starts the show by announcing "welcome to Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the show that asks the question, Whose Line Is It Anyway!"
    • And let's not forget the "You are my chilidog" three headed broadway star:
  • Share the Male Pain: The Newsflash segment with skateboarding bloopers had dozens of ...bad landings... often in a row. The audience reacted to every one, but Colin, who could only react to their reactions, got bored with it.
  • Shout-Out: Dozens - there's even a trend of sorts, Star Trek jokes in the UK and Star Wars jokes in the US versions.
  • Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: Seen quite frequently in "Film, TV & Theater Styles" and "Scenes From a Hat".
  • Shown Their Work: When the suggestion "unfortunate city names that shouldn't have a song written about them" came up in Scenes from a Hat. One could say that the players... went to town.
  • Show Stopper: Unsurprising, as it is played in front of a live audience.
  • Shutting Up Now: Frequently done in "Greatest Hits" when Colin rambles on and on about something. He even put himself to sleep once before Ryan could say anything.
  • Sleeper Hit: The U.S. version wasn't expected to be a huge hit; after all, it aired opposite of ratings juggernaut Friends. Nevertheless, Whose Line gained unexpected popularity. And ABC didn't really have a major reason to remove it from the schedule if it received at least modest ratings, given its relatively low production costs.
  • Slow Motion: Utilized in a playing of "Hollywood Director" (combined with randomly speeding up).
  • Small Reference Pools: Played straight due to the nature of the show, but subverted in time thanks to an increasingly Genre Savvy audience - the obligatory Star Wars jokes saw a fresh surge of life thanks to the prequel trilogy. "Jar Jar Binks sing blues!"
    • One Film TV Theater Styles involved a reference to The Birdman of Alcatraz, but what's the first thing Wayne and Ryan think of?
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Thanks to the US TV rating, the players (usually Colin) mime smoking to represent sex. See Does This Remind You of Anything? above for one example.
    • This gets notably averted on the US version, during Scenes from a Hat when the suggestion "times you wish you could fast-forward Real Life" comes up. Wayne fast-forwards through a "date" with Greg, which actually involved Greg making humping motions on Wayne in the middle - presumably to set up the final gag, with Greg crying "this never happened before!"
  • The Smurfette Principle: For some obscure reason, Drew's run of the show had a maximum of one female performer on occasion. And why are all the musicians women anyway?
    • Inverted by UK Series 3 Episode 6, which had three female performers to one male.
    • Which was weird, considering the 3rd animated caricature had a decidedly more feminine appearence.
  • Something Person: Invoked more often than not during Super Heroes.

Thank God you're here, Man Who Says Everything Twice Man!

  • Sorry I Left the BGM On: one session of Sound Effects had Colin playing Tarzan; he responded to Ryan's mimicking of tribal drums by turning off an imaginary iPod.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: While most bleeps in the US version were of stronger curse words, occasionally there were head-scratching bleeps of what the censors apparently considered inappropriate remarks. It got out of hand at times, especially since the beep actually made the comments sound more taboo than they actually were:

Ryan: (during a "Hoedown" about Christmas) Every Christmas Eve You'll find me (porking Mrs. Claus!)"
Brad: (during a "Party Quirks" where Colin is a seal) "I'd like you to meet (Stephen Hawking)."
Drew: (after "Song Styles") "Doug's a chemistry professor, but he actually owns a (meth lab) in Van Nuys. They call him "The Professor"."
Ryan: (during "Narrate" about a pizza shop) "Like that pizza in the oven, I wanted him (in me). It just occurred to me: We're never gonna be able to use that."
Brad: (during "Scenes From a Hat" where the suggestion was "What Politicians' Wives Are Really Thinking As They Smile and Wave at the Podium") "I sure hope my husband licks (Bush) tonight." It's an election thing!

    • Colin afflicts these on himself during the "Millionaire Show" playing where the theme was Jerry Springer.
    • One of the "Scenes From a Hat" suggestions was "Statements That Will Get Bleeped By the Censor". The cast responds accordingly.

Wayne: In español, I'm El Grande Ricardo, but you can call me Big [bleep].

  • Spaghetti Kiss: Seen in a playing of "Helping Hands" about two Italian lovers. The spaghetti kiss was between Kathy Greenwood and Ryan.
  • Speaking Simlish: If Ryan's the one with the mic in "Sound Effects", everyone speaks this way.
  • Special Guest: Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg were guest performers, with David Hasselhoff, Hugh Hefner, Richard Simmons, Sid Caesar, Florence Henderson, Jerry Springer and even Lassie appearing for individual skits.
    • From the UK version, we have Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Fry, Ardal O'Hanlon, and Eddie Izzard.
      • George Wendt also appeared in one two episodes of the UK series.
    • Don't forget Santa Claus!
    • Richard Simmons' appearance managed to become a running gag for several games after it.
  • Spiritual Successor: "Film Dub" is like the late 90s/early 2000s version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, except providing entirely new dialog instead of riffs between the dialog. In fact, some of the films that the cast dubbed new dialog for in "Film Dub" were also featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000, such as "Teenagers From Outer Space", and the short "Once Upon a Honeymoon". It's definitely deja vu if you've seen those Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes beforehand (or vice versa).
  • Spit Take: They actually had "Things That Will Make Drew Do A Spit Take" as a Scenes From A Hat skit once. Drew played along and put his cup to his mouth in setup.
  • Stealth Insult: On the Party Quirks where Ryan Gets Hurt, Wayne speaks faster and faster for someone he's attracted to... and slows down for Drew. When Colin, the French Pig hunting for Truffles and annoyed at not finding any, arrives, he talks extremely fast at Colin.
    • During one "Let's Make a Date", Ryan's quirk was that he was Colin's highly competitive uglier brother. After the game, Colin addressed the stealth insult in how Ryan's quirk was worded:

Colin: I love the fact that they wrote the word "uglier".

  • Stock Footage: Many times when multiple episodes were created from the same taping session, we see some of the same in-between game banter. It's not uncommon to hear Drew make a joke that you swear you've heard before (ex: "Never make fun of the popular funny guy, that's the thing you shouldn't do."). Thankfully, the transition between old and new footage is pretty seamless anyway.
    • There are exceptions, though: During an episode that came from the same taping as female bodybuilder Jayne Trcka, Ryan remarks that he's not built like some of the women on the show, but can usually hold his own. In the episodes from this taping that don't feature Trcka, this joke doesn't make sense.
    • This gets milked for all the laughs possible in two notable Newsflash games, using footage of past Colin and Ryan performances.
  • Stock Lateral Thinking Puzzle: In a playing of "The Millionaire Show", Colin quizzes Ryan on what the capitol of Paraguay is. The last choice (and the correct one) is "P".
  • Straight Man: Most games had one of these, by design. In the US version, this was almost always the fourth chair (in particular Greg or Kathy), but on occasion, Colin would fill the role instead (especially when it was a two-player game with Ryan).
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: During a playing of "Questionable Impressions", Greg played Yoda from Star Wars. The following exchange occurred:

Greg (as Yoda): Waiting, you are?
Ryan (as Katharine Hepburn): Well aren't you just the cutest little thing I've ever seen?
Greg: Teach you, will you like to learn?

  • Street Urchin: Colin remarked in a "Greatest Hits" that he was a child of the streets. This joke is revisited later when he performs an improvised rap about metal music:

Colin: I'm just talkin' metal. It could be heavy, it could be light, it could be aluminum, it could be lead. Is lead a metal? I don't know. Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa!
Ryan: Hey, you just rapped there!
Colin: I told ya, I'm a child of the streets!

  • Streisand Effect: The Cosby/Hitler incident. When the sketch was prohibited right there on the stage (Hitler had to be changed to "insurance salesman"), the cast retaliated by bringing up Hitler as much as they could during the rest of the episode.
  • Strictly Formula: The layout of games was significantly more rigid in the UK version (they even rotated 2-player games to give all 4 equal exposure - compare with Wayne's showcases in the US run), and the US run would occasionally subvert the end credits reading depending on the final cut of the footage, but both sides seem to agree on making the first game a 4-player affair to get the ball rolling.
    • Both versions ended with a Hoedown more often than not. The US has an excuse - it's Drew's favorite part of the game. The UK doesn't, guest performers on Hoedown would turn it into a muttering-down more often than not.
    • While nearly all episodes feature Drew repeating that the points don't matter, one episode averted this formula by Drew announcing that the points DO matter. He gave specific point totals to each performer and kept track on a card. About halfway through the show, he almost gave up on this, but changed his mind when goaded by Ryan and the audience.
  • Studio Audience: Given the format, audience members are occasionally brought down to participate - virtually everyone's enthusiastic about it. Some, such as Carol perform especially admirably.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Once during "Props". "Rickem rackem rockem ruckem, get that ball and really FIGHT!"
    • And when Brad sings to audience member Lanelle:

Lanelle, you make my heart swell
Sometimes I think I died and went to... heaven.

    • In a playing of "Irish Drinking Song", Wayne said the verse "I became a rock tucker", and when they got to Colin, he deliberately sang nothing, because we all know what can rhyme with "tucker".
      • There's another option, too—consider a phrase that rhymes with 'rock trucker' [8]
    • During a "Hoedown" about wrestling, Colin's third line ended with "turnbuckle", and his fourth line was:

Colin: Because of all my injuries, I've lost the ability to rhyme!

    • Averted in the love song Brad sings to a girl named "Niroshi." He has to resort to some Painful Rhymes, but that just makes it funnier.
  • Summer Replacement Series: The American version began its life as a 6-week-long summer replacement series in 1998 before getting promoted to a full series.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Colin, during "Two Line Vocabulary".
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Greatest Hits and Song Styles/Duet almost always had improvised music meant to evoke real artists, especially after US season 2.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Ryan during a one of game Meet the Family, where he plays a dominatrix. After the game, he says he doesn't know a thing about dominatrices.

Ryan: "If they hook up electricity to people nipples, I wouldn't know about that sort of thing."

  • Take That: The contestants LOVE sneaking in Take Thats at each other. Colin is often a target for being bald and/or Canadian, but Ryan and Drew are constantly belittled too.
    • Especially evident during the Drew Carey run was the number of Take Thats against Friends, airing in the same timeslot as their show on a rival network. UPN and George W Bush are also recurring targets. One of the best examples was "What George W. Bush thinks during Cabinet meetings".
      • The UK version wasn't above this, often picking on shows like Eastenders or Neighbors, or digging at the Royal Family and other politicians. They even would make fun of Clive Anderson, too.

Clive: (to a US audience) "...hey, I'm new here... haven't even met Divine Brown yet..."

    • When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was taking off, Drew made a couple good-natured jokes about it, such as awarding a billion points to the performers to make it look like Millionaire's prizes were peanuts in comparison. "Feel the heat, Regis."
    • "Okay, so you have to sing to Joe the pool guy using his name and occupation in the style of famed misogynist and homophobe Eminem."
    • Slattery's verse for the Sex Hoedown:

I'm a little kinky, my panties are made of fur,
I like to stay in evenings, just me and my cucumber.
And then I pull my pants down, and start to paint my tush,
And dress up in leather, and squat on Barbara Bush!

    • On the UK version while Tony Slattery was still around, he would make a common practice of making his Props teammate say, "Hello, I'm [unpopular celebrity name]" followed by Tony pretending to throw up in the prop.
    • One more Tony one, this time from the game Authors:

Barbara Cartland, witch and hag
Too much makeup, fascist bag

    • In a playing of "Award Show" with the theme of hillbillies, Ryan thanked his acting coach, Ned Beatty.
    • After a playing of "Superheroes", Drew remarked about zippers on Wayne's pants, who said it was a tribute to Michael Jackson. After a bit of brief banter, Greg said, "Here's my tribute to LaToya", and made an unflattering face, also using his hands to push up his nose.
    • Drew usually insults Wayne's mom during Hoedowns.
  • Take That, Audience!: Usually right after returning from a commercial break, Drew would make a joke at the home audience's expense.

Drew:Hey! If you're at home watching this with your girlfriend, why don't you call your wife and ask her to tune in too!

    • An even better example:

Drew: Hey, during the commercial break, did you tell your kids you loved them? Did you pet your dog? Did you tell your wife you were glad to see her? Didja? Didja? Huh? (shouting) NO! You just sat on your fat butt waiting for the show to come back on! (calm) Now during the next commercial break, don't forget to kiss your wife.

    • Drew would also say he pitied any viewer who was seriously keeping track of the points.
    • In one episode, Drew said he was pleased at how, thanks to the show, amateur improv is at an all time high. However, he didn't want any more people to send him their crummy audition tapes.
  • Take That Me: Inadvertantly done by Colin during a game where he stands in front of a green screen and reports on the events shown based on the comments other players make. It wasn't until a bald joke was made that he caught on that the footage being shown was himself being a Large Ham in previous episodes.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Used, appropriately enough, in "Helping Hands" when Ryan and special guest Whoopi Goldberg played a couple of pirates.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Seen a couple times in "Improbable Mission".
  • Tempting Fate: Subverted so wonderfully in a playing of "Sound Effects" where Ryan and Colin were two GIs escaping from a POW camp. Colin finds a vehicle he plans to hotwire. Ryan warns him to be careful. Colin then goes into a long rant about how he's done this millions of times and nothing will happen, in order to egg on the two audience members off-stage to supply sound effects of him getting zapped. But he successfully hotwires the car with no injuries and says, "See?"
    • An unaired game of 90 Second Alphabet was between Ryan and Drew with the premise being two lovers in bed and they had to start with the letter F. You can probably figure out why it was unaired.
    • Making fun of another performer in a hoedown often gives them time to come back with a comeback. Colin was particularly awesome at this.

Colin: Oh, by the way, Chip has a little penis.

    • Drew insulting Wayne's mother in Hoedown was commonplace.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The premise of World's Worst Dating, and by proxy Hats (the former two usually blended) and 'Scenes from a Hat.
  • That Came Out Wrong: At the end of one "Irish Drinking Song" about breaking up, Colin delivered this line: "Joe had a nice bone." After the game concludes and the rest of the cast loses it, Colin says, "That's not what I meant to say."
    • In the "Greatest Hits" about motorcycles, Ryan remarked:

Ryan: When I'm feeling romantic to- with the wife, or to the wife... sometimes she's sleeping... but when I'm feeling romantic with the wife-
Colin: Oh, a much better situation.

  • That's Gotta Hurt: Almost always said by Greg during "Sportscasters"/"Sports Commentators", in this variant: "I don't care who you are, that has got to hurt!"
    • Said by Colin in the skateboarding clip under Squick above (and he couldn't actually see it at that point - the audience helped though.)
  • Think of the Censors: Most prominently, the cast has to be warned before proceeding with parodies of South Park.
    • Before a game, Drew said:

Drew: Watch for Colin's new show; it's a cross between Dick Van Dyke, Beat the Clock, and Leave It to Beaver. Uh... (audience laughs in anticipation) I'd tell you the title, but I'm not allowed to say it on TV.

    • In a playing of "Greatest Hits" where the style was "Songs of the International Spy", Colin said:

Colin: Dr. No, Goldfinger, Octo... I don't think we can say the rest of that one!

Greg: This tape will self-destruct as soon as you toss it out the... (Colin throws tape out the window) BOOM!

  • Those Two Guys: the UK version had a habit of rotating its roster in pairs of performers. Some were forgettable, but the ones who left their mark include the UK's Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen, and Americans Chris Smith and Jim Meskimen - Jim in particular demonstrated the vocal talents that led to his successful voice acting career. In the US version, Colin and Ryan seemed to be this.
  • Throw It In: Some games were repeated because of some technical mistake like the music synthesizer suddenly doubling its tempo. Wayne's bemused attempts to keep up were too funny to leave out of the official version.
  • Timmy in a Well: A variant of this is said before the "Duet" where Brad and Wayne sing to Lassie.
    • Averted till just before the end when "if dogs could talk" came up in Scenes from a Hat.
  • Title Drop: One of the games is actually called "Whose Line".
  • Title-Only Opening: In the U.S. version, there is no "intro" to speak of, only the title superimposed on the screen as Drew went through his introductions of the performers and himself.
  • Title Please: Not only are there no episode titles listed on the screen, but there aren't any, period. Titles just go by number, which can make it confusing if you're trying to remember which episode had what game played, or who was on it.
  • Toilet Humour: Ryan, during "Changed Letter" (where "F" replaces "B"): "Ah, I just had a great fowel movement."
    • Ryan again, in the role of 'A Defrosting Neanderthal' in Let's Make a Date... the first thing he does after breaking out of the ice is to take a leak.
    • Ryan's nuclear urine. He likes this kind of humor, I guess.
    • Colin as Stinky Man in "Superheroes": "Ooh, time for some beans!"
    • Colin, in "Scenes From a Hat": "What color's your poo first thing in the morning?"
    • Colin, in two different "Irish Drinking Song"s: "Oops, I poo'd!" and "You can get poo from food!" (which was a Call Back to Scenes from a Hat (again), about "unlikely subjects for Broadway musicals".)
  • Tongue-Tied: Due to the improv nature of the show, very little is edited so we get plenty of goof-ups. Drew provided most of them, such as before "Hollywood Director" where he said, "This is for all four of you. Greg- why- R- Ryan..." Ryan replied, "Six years, he doesn't know my name." Greg added, "You are SO drunk!"
    • Another Drew example, but in this case it's adding too many words: When describing the scene to a "Hollywood Director", he says "Ryan is a vampire bat who flies into the bedroom out of mouthy college girl Wayne. Oh, "of", I'm sorry, not "out of"."
      • Drew again: One time before "Boogie Woogie Sisters", he accidentally combined Wayne's and Brad's names to "Wad".
      • Before a playing of "Press Conference", Drew tongue-tied "newspaper reporters" so badly that when he finally got it right, the audience applauded. In the same intro, Drew said: "But Colin doesn't know who you is."
      • After a playing of "Hollywood Director", Drew said: "Now we gonna wanna go- now..." Wayne and Ryan jumped on his flub immediately.
    • Another example of too many words: Ryan got tongue-tied during "Greatest Hits"'s Songs of the Scoutmaster when he meant to say "And none is more beautiful than..." but instead said "And none more is more beautiful- I'm a little..." Colin takes advantage of the situation and said, "I guess you didn't get a badge for SPEAKING!"
      • Another from Ryan: During a "Whose Line" parodying Star Wars, Ryan (as Obi Wan) told Colin, "I have not got long left... (Drew laughs; realizes what he said is awkwardly worded) or I have not long left, I will... I'll die soon, Luke."
    • A Colin instance occurred during "Greatest Hits" when Colin accidentally says "chiropractor" as "chiropactor". He immediately corrects himself and runs with it: "Oh, I knew I shouldn't have had a nip!"
    • Before a playing of "Helping Hands", Wayne got tongue tied when describing the scene to Drew and Ryan:

Wayne: "Ryan is the bad-temper owner- is the bad tempered owner..."
Drew: "Not so easy, is it?"

      • And thanks to Colin, Wayne got saddled with singing a song called "You Yellow Bellied Lily Livered' Oooo...Mutha", stumbling over the pronunciation and eventually going "what the hell am I sayin'".
  • Too Hot for TV: "Too Hot For Whose Line". (see Content Warnings above) Although unlike many "Too Hot For TV" episodes, these aired on ABC as normal.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: In a "Questions Only":

Colin: (angry) Do I have to teach you a lesson?
Ryan: (smiling) Would you?

Clive: "It's topical now, but it'll be great in six months' time when this goes out..."
Tony: "But he'll still be dead!"

  • Translation: "Yes": Often used in Foreign Film Dub (usually after Colin has gone off on one of his endless rants of gibberish)
    • During the UK version with Film TV Theater Styles (done with Eddie Izzard), one of the suggestions was "French With Subtitles". Both Stephen Frost and Eddie would spout French gibberish, and the subtitles would be "Yes" or something similar.
    • Sometimes inverted, too.
  • Transsexualism: Parodied Up to Eleven in a playing of "The Millionaire Show" where the cast did the Jerry Springer version of the show: Colin reveals that he's been sleeping with Kathy (Ryan's wife in the skit), who is apparently two men. This is made even more amusing when you realize that Ryan apparently never found out about Kathy being a man the whole time they were married.
  • The Trope Kid: in Weird Superheroes.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: Seen in a "Whose Line" sketch parodying Beauty and The Beast. Colin, who is Beauty, remarks to Ryan, who is Beast, that true beauty is on the inside, although Colin readily admits that the Beast's outward appearance is extremely ugly.
  • Turn Your Head and Cough: In one "Scenes From a Hat" segment, one situation which came up was "Things You Wouldn't Want to Hear Your Doctor Say After 'Turn Your Head And Cough'."
  • Un Entendre: one session of Greatest Hits was about "Songs of Golf", whereupon Ryan cooked up the title "A Squirrel Chewed My Bag". Brad figured out one possible implication of this, but without any time to word it properly, the refrain of the song became "He chewed on my bag, and my balls fell out". And it made it to broadcast.
  • The Unintelligible: While Ryan is making all the sounds for Colin in the non-audience Sound Effects, he always avoids saying anything that sounds like distinct dialogue, unless absolutely necessary, like repeating Drew's description of the scene to get the point across.
    • Drew in the infamous "Yelled out the wrong name in bed" Irish Drinking Song.
    • In the UK version, Colin plays a game of Superheroes as "Incoherent Boy."
    • During a "Showstopping Number", Colin's song degenerated into gibberish for the last verse, prompting Ryan to cut his number short and ask what he was doing.
    • Scene to Rap in US season 2 ep. 15 had the audience giving "brain surgery" as a suggestion, which led to Wayne (who normally rules in this game) to let out a strangely rhythmic babble ending with "I like birds."
    • Ryan seems to think Jimmy Stewart is this.
  • Unit Confusion: The last British series was filmed in Hollywood to transition to the US version, and the veteran players like Colin and Ryan were never sure whether they were playing to the American audience in the studio or the British audience in front of the TV set. This led to gems like this one, during Greatest Hits:

Ryan: How much would you pay for this 50-CD set?
Colin: Why, I'd pay over 400 pounds...or dollars.
Ryan: Well that's great because it is over 400 pounds or dollars!

  • Unusual Euphemism: "If You Know What I Mean" seemed to be a game designed to see who could make the most confusing euphemism. Colin usually came up with the most out-there examples, like "Look what I can do with the donuts!" and "I'll help you fluff your Garfield, if you know what I mean."
  • Unsound Effect: In a scene where two of the other performers imitate walking in spurs, Colin adds "High heel, High heel"
  • Uranus Is Showing: Done by Greg Proops in a game of "Hats/Dating Service Video". He donned an astronaut's helmet and said "I'd like to explore Uranus".
  • Verbal Tic: The performers will sometimes reuse the same short bits of verbal patter, especially when they've been locked into a specific role in a specific game.
    • Wayne almost always starts his songs with the word "because" (presumably to give himself more time to think of a relevant lyric).
      • "Let me tell you something" is another phrase you'll hear quite a few times from him in the musical games.
    • Colin uses the line "It really is quite [x]" a lot during his Hoedowns.
  • Very Special Episode: Referenced by Wayne Brady in jest. During a playing of "Weird Newscasters", Ryan's quirk was that he was descending the evolutionary scale. Ryan devolved from caveman to... Drew Carey. After the game, Drew repeatedly called Ryan a freak. After the next game, Narrate, concluded, Drew awarded Ryan 10,000 points as an apology for calling him a freak, and also told Ryan he loved him. Wayne then remarked: "A very special Whose Line Is It Anyway?."
  • Video TV Game Cruelty Potential: The cast members involved in Moving People aren't allowed to move themselves, only when they're moved by the audience members, so there is usually some abuse taken. Case in point, Colin once started the scene with his finger up his nose.
    • Fixed Expressions always led to the players massaging their own faces on the way back to the chairs. No surprise that it was phased out...
    • In Greatest Hits, Ryan and Colin enjoyed giving the other member(s) of the cast difficult titles to sing to.

Ryan: I don't think I felt any more like I was on the beach when I heard that lounge hit simply titled, "(gurgling noise)"
Wayne: (glares at Ryan)

    • Colin shoving random things into Ryan's mouth in Helping Hands takes the cake (and cake is hardly the worst thing here).
  • Viewers are Morons: Parodied in one "Film, TV, and Theater Styles" as Drew explained the scene:

Drew. Ryan is a WW 2 pilot -- that's World War Two.
Ryan. Alright. I thought it was a wrestling pilot.
Drew. So do a lot of people; that's why I had to say it.

    • Done straight a couple times when the audience doesn't get references to literature, and are called out on to read a book.
  • Visual Pun: The whole point of "Props" and "Hats".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: In the British version, Greg and Clive. In the American version, just about everyone, but especially Ryan and Drew. Type 2 in all cases.
  • The Voiceless: Kathy Greenwood didn't speak at all during one episode, as she only participated in games where her voice wasn't required ("Living Scenery", "Song Styles" as a back-up dancer), and didn't come up with any scenes during "Scenes From a Hat".
  • Volleying Insults: Frequently seen in "Greatest Hits" with Ryan and Colin's banter. One of the best instances was this exchange, after Ryan answers a riddle Colin posed about Destiny's Child:

Colin: Sometimes I just wonder why I talk to you!
Ryan: Because if you didn't, you wouldn't be talking to anyone!
Colin: That's right! I'd still get better answers.

    • Greg vs. Clive or, in a larger sense, America vs. England. It was good-natured, of course. One time, they exchanged barbs for so long before a scene that Clive shouted, "GET ON WITH IT, GREG!"
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Variation: Helping Hands usually ends with Ryan spitting out whatever Colin just fed him, sometimes into Colin's hands.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: the Melissa incident for one (Wayne was playing Godzilla and grabbed a girl from the audience, but accidentally hiked her skirt up too high in the process), and allegedly during Richard Simmons' appearance.

Greg: "If you all got to see what me and Colin got to see..."
Ryan: "Little Richard!"

Colin: Two cokes and some chips.

  • Wham! Line: The game Whose Line plays this for laughs by treating whatever (and we mean whatever) is in their notes like this.
  • What Could Have Been: Drew Carey merely wanted to produce the show, after learning about Ryan Stiles and Kathy Kinney's improv background in The Drew Carey Show and finding the UK version. The network wasn't interested until Drew offered to host, giving the show significant name recognition.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The whole point of Weird Superheroes. Impossible Mission would sometimes lead to Colin and Ryan accusing each other of having some kind of inane ability through surgery.

Colin: I've got the entire technical readouts in my pants! (audience laughter) I had a fax machine...inserted ...into my buttocks!

  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In a "Hollywood Director" about Zorro, Kathy delivered a So Bad It's Good Spanish accent: "J'know I will not dance for de likes of yuuuh." Drew laughed hard and Ryan remarked, "You're from Canada, aren't you?"
  • Who Writes This Crap?: one of the first sessions of Animals had Clive ending his explanation of the game by commenting "this game is the product of deranged minds..."
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: A game goes awry, and Wayne knocks over a table, soaking Brad's chair with water. Drew reacts with mock disappointment; Brad is upset.
  • Wild Child: In one "Greatest Hits", Colin mentions how he was raised by wolves, as well as weasels, beavers, and a platypus.
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof
  • Wire Dilemma: In a playing of "Party Quirks", Colin played a bomb disposal officer who suspected bombs of being in people's pants. At one point, he said, "Red buttock, blue buttock, red buttock, blue buttock..."
  • With My Hands Tied: "I'm only going to use one lip!"
  • Word Salad Lyrics: If you write out the lyrics to a typical playing of "Three-Headed Broadway Star", they don't make much sense. This is no surprise, as the song is made up one word at a time and thus can go in odd directions very quickly.
  • World's Shortest Book:

Drew Carey: The shortest book ever written.
Chip Esten: British Dentistry.

  • Worthy Opponent: Special guest Sid Caesar took Drew to school in "Foreign Film Dub" when it came to faking another language; eventually, Drew awarded Sid the winner of the game, both out of respect and because he admitted he couldn't keep up with Sid.
  • X Called. They Want Their Y Back.: Drew, to Ryan after a game where he insulted Drew:

Drew: That was Ringling Bros.; they want their shoes back.

    • After a particularly raunchy playing of Scenes From a Hat:

Drew: By the way PBS called; they want their tote bags back.

Ryan: I love that: "Couldn't meet a nicer man in the world"- "STINKY MAN!!!""

    • After a commercial break once, Drew said: "Welcome back to Whose Line is it Anyway, where you can win a million dollars!... if your name is Drew Carey."
      • Similarly, once Drew opened the show by saying that all the contestants will be getting new cars. Then he re-reads the card and says it's just him that's getting one.
  • Yawn and Reach: In the "Let's Make a Date" where Ryan played Colin's highly competitive uglier brother, both Colin and Ryan performed this move on the "dates" they picked from the audience.
  • Yes-Man: Often seen in "Hollywood Director", usually by Ryan or Wayne, trying to suck up to Colin the director.
  • Your Mom: If Wayne gets in a shot at Drew during US Hoedowns, expect Drew to insult his mom during his portion.

My first directing job, it was really great!
Fans lined up to see it, they couldn't really wait!
Uh, it was really... (Beat) ...da bomb.
It was a porno movie starring Wayne's mom!

    • Even better:

Well, people always ask me,
"Hey, Drew, did you lose weight?"
And I tell 'em, "Thanks, I feel great!"
I find a diet plan that is like no other!
I burn all my calories banging Wayne's mother!

  1. He has a ticklish butt.
  2. for the record, Ryan was actually talking about an owl
  3. Wayne's suggestion is a "smooth rap star blindfolded and handcuffed to the bed by his new girlfriend[,] gradually realizing the evening is going wrong", and Colin's is the equally long "deranged window dresser whose only friends are mannequins Ryan & Wayne who he has fun undressing & dressing after hours"
  4. "Mary Had A Little Lamb", if you must know.
  5. The title is composed of several extremely complex puns and as such is impossible to translate
  6. Quartet I is an excellent comedy troupe, but scripted plays is what they are known for, they don't do improv
  7. Considering that Jerry Springer is primarily populated by white rednecks and Wayne was piling on the black stereotypes, he might have misread "South America" as "South Central".
  8. the second word is "sucker"