Tag Archives: #whoseliveanyway

Whose Live?

And I would be remiss if I didn’t strongly urge you to seek out and attend Whose Live Is It Anyway?, the live show based on the long-running improv TV show. The current cast includes Ryan Styles, Joel Murray, Jeff Davis, and Greg Proops, each one brilliant, but put ’em all together and you’ll be blown away. And, I don’t just say that because of the incredible surprise they pulled off for some of my own improv students which is posted elsewhere.

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Because my improv interests are primarily longform, for a long time I made the mistake of thinking that an evening of games wouldn’t appeal to me as much. Boy, was I wrong! This group does improv games as well as I’ve ever seen them done. It’s an evening filled with music, audience participation, and plenty of classic games.

But afterward, I started thinking about what I had just seen. While I’m used to scene-based longform, I realized that what they present is actually game-based longform! There are callbacks galore, as they weave material, suggestions, and characters throughout the evening in a way that really isn’t possible in a half-hour TV show. Here’s the info. You do not want to miss this.

No One Expects…

…Well, some of you know that I coach Illinois State University’s Improv Mafia on an irregular basis. Although I often get more out of it than they do, none of them will forget Saturday’s workshop.

It all started a couple of days before. I learned that my good friend and Baron’s Barracuda Brother Joel Murray would be in the area. In addition to acting in loads of TV shows (including one called Mad Men), directing, and improvising out of the iO West nowadays, Joel also tours with Whose Live Is It Anyway?, the live-on-stage version of the long-running improvisational TV series.

So, I made a quick trip to the theatre where they were appearing, and Joel introduced me to the rest of the cast, including the spectacularly talented Ryan Styles, Greg Proops, and Jeff Davis. As I was leaving, Joel happened to mention that they would be performing Who’s Live in Bloomington, Illinois on Saturday night. I happened to mention that I would be running an improv workshop in Bloomington that very afternoon. The wheels began to turn…

Cut to Saturday afternoon. The group was in the middle of some longform improvisation, when Joel and Ryan Styles walked in.

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Consider that many of these students first learned about improvisation watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? and you should have a clue as to how amazing it was for them. You could compare it to a group of music students going to a guitar lesson in rural Illinois and having Eric Clapton walk in.

They sat watching, asking questions, making some valuable suggestions, until they had to get back to their hotel. (Joel told me later that if he hadn’t dragged Ryan away, he never would have left.) Of course, they happily posed for pictures with the class before leaving.

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And this is the great thing about most of the improvisers that I know. They are generous with their time, and happy to pass along what they have learned to the next generation. The last thing Ryan and Joel needed to do on a beautiful fall afternoon was to sit down and watch a group of college students passionate about learning the things they learned about many years before. But that’s just what they did. Thanks so much guys.

#whoseliveanyway @improvmafia @joelmurray9of9 @iochicago