Aisha Tyler hosts this skit comedy show where the actors on the show, usually Wayne Brady, Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and another guest star or two do different comedy skits. It's all improv and made up on the spot.
Colin and Brad's TWO MAN GROUP is a riotously funny, interactive, and completely improvised tour de force. Colin and Brad create pandemonium on the spot in one of the funniest live shows you will ever see.
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About the cast, it's amazing. Simply the best on the planet united in one show. If you watched Whose Line you'll be happy to know they're all here. The older guys like Colin Mochrie, Ryan Styles and Greg Proops, share the stage with a younger generation in Jeff Davies, Chip Esten and Jonathan Mangum. This new generation, which didn't have so much exposure in the more static format of Whose Line, is just amazing. All solid performers that work really well together.
Some are noticeably below that level, like Drew Carey and Kathy Kinney, but even them have improved substantially.
So if the cast is so good, what about the format? Those who have been devouring the old Whose Line episodes for all these years for lack of any worthy substitute, may not like to know that mostly everything changed.
There's no host. Each participant take turns introducing the games. There's no buzzer. Music is used much more freely through the games. Different combinations of cast members are used each time in every game. Lastly, of course, it feels much more refined with this big, glamorous stage, instead of the small studio.
If you move past the initial disappointment of not being able to see Colin and Ryan playing every scene together, you'll realize that this is some of the best entertainment you can get out there, all crammed up in a 20 minute package through some editing.
In all this time between Whose Line and Improv-a-ganza, these guys have been playing together, sometimes in smaller groups, sometimes the whole gang. They've been changing stuff, refining and perfecting the show. What we see in this show is the result of that evolution, adapted to a form that fits the TV network. There's almost no waste of time, the show feels very organic and dynamic, the actors have no specific roles, the games chosen for this are fast paced and some take advantage of the fact that they have many more people than in previous formats. The flexibility to have different combinations of cast members playing each scene is especially welcome. The fear of experimentation is gone and you'll see actors playing together that may seem like non-intuitive choices initially, if you've watched Whose Line, and end up showcasing the amazing talent of some of the new guys.
Now, are there any negative aspects to this at all? The only things I can remember seem like small details but I'm going to post them anyway: 1. One thing that I didn't like was the fact that most shots were too tight. There was always a preference of wider angles in Whose Line and even in Improv All Stars (which is essentially the same format as Improv-a-ganza). These wider shots are entertaining because it allowed the viewer to see the reactions of other cast members to the scene, and the way they act and react to something that's being made up of the top of their heads is one of the biggest attractions of improv. In here, you're usually stuck with a zoomed in angle of the actor that's delivering the line.
2. Another thing I didn't like was the editing. Some of it was too noticeable, even amateurish. It cuts from a shot where the actor is on the right and suddenly, he's in the center with some laughs being carried over from a different shot. This happens a lot and I reckon it may be necessary to cram so much material in 20 mins but it should be done better.
3. Another thing about editing is the repeating shots of the same people laughing over and over again. After watching all shows, I can clearly remember the same shot of the laughter of the same person being used in at least 3 different episodes. This is worse than my last point because, more than amateurish, it breaks the immersion because we're no longer sure if any subsequent shots were really taken at that moment or inserted there in editing for some purpose.
4. I could do without the 20 minute limit. This show should be 1 hour long and have a more relaxed pace. This limit requires some juggling of the material to fit the form-factor which gives rise to problems with editing. Many transitions feel very unnatural because of this.
In conclusion, these negatives are details compared to the amazing value in this show. There doesn't seem to be enough demand for improv these days which is a shame, I hope this more mainstream, fast-paced approach can gather some new fans. I hope they keep doing this.
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