STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $26.98
RUNNING TIME: 110 Minutes
• Uncensored outtakes
• Gag Reel

The Pitch

“I need from the audience a suggestion of a truism. Any truism at all—”

“Drew Carey sucks!”

“… any truism at all …”

The Humans

Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops

The Nutshell

Improvisational comedy has long been a staple of acting classes, community theaters, and professional acts. Over in Britland, they decided to bring this niche act to the masses via a television show. It did well enough to warrant the attention of American programmers, and so emigrated to the colonies, maintaining its primary comedians and changing only its host from the speed-talker Clive Anderson to our own shlub-of-the-year Drew Carey.

And lo! The huddled masses yearning for sheep became mildly infatuated with Wayne Brady’s confident musical improvisation, as well as the other comedic stylings as displayed over a series of “games” in which “points” are “awarded” with no particular goal in mind, other than to make the audience laugh and make uncomfortable homosexual innuendo.

Tonight’s caps will be brought to you by the unfortunate people
seated behind Drew’s right shoulder. First up, the pensive attention whore.

The Lowdown

"There was a little girl / Who had a little curl / Right in the middle of her forehead / When she was good / She was very, very good / But when she was bad, she was horrid."

Think of Whose Line Is It Anyway? as a cute little girl. If that’s too abstract, just think of Drew Carey as that cute little girl with Shirley Temple hair. If that’s too horrible to consider, then you might want to steer clear of this show — if that’s at all possible — or pony up for a bit of hypnotherapy to doctor your memories.

Either might be necessary, the reason being that Mr. Carey will do everything he can to ingratiate himself with his intended audience, and he is none too good at it. When the show’s good, it’s very, very good; but when it’s bad, it’s Carey’s fault. He tries to put his stamp on everything with his awkward introductions to the games played, his insistence on participating in the final game, and his semi-scripted one-liners that bring the show in and lead it out. It’s particularly bad in this season, when he didn’t seem to have much in the way of material for those last. At least two of his jokes, on separate episodes, begin with, "If you have an American-made TV…"

Next, the dude who would not quite chewing on his lip all episode long.

So, how good would the show be were Carey removed from it? Well, you can catch the original, BBC-aired version on BBC America pretty frequently, and that’ll give you a good idea. When the improvisors take the stage, the results are often hilarious, because the cast is a talented one. Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie tend to be the best at creating scene and character, while Wayne Brady and his encyclopedic music knowledge (as well as notable vocal range) contribute mightily to the musical segments. The fourth member of the cast revolves a bit, but the fourth player never quite measures up to the regulars.

Because it’s improv, there are naturally some hits and some misses. It’s not game-specific, either; sometimes their "Box of Hats" game is dead on, and sometimes uninspired. You take something of a gamble with the show, since there’s no guarantee that the quality will remain even.

It’s good fun for admirers of spontaneity, with a cast dedicated to the profession of entertaining an audience, barring one notable exception.

I don’t know who she is, but she disapproves.

The Package

…is emaciated. You can see its bones. It’s kinda gross.

You get ten episodes on two discs, in 4:3 television resolution. The “uncensored” part of the billing resides in a couple of deleted/bonus scenes on the second disc, that aren’t that great, because once you’ve heard “beep,” you’ve pretty much heard all the profanities in the world.

6 out of 10