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All-Improv Finale For SNL'

I am – Hercules!

Will the writers have the week off as "Saturday Night Live's" cast prepares for the show's May 19 season finale?

Sean Jordan over at passed along an item from Improv Review reporting that the Drew Carey-hosted finale will be entirely improvised (not unlike the Carey-hosted “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” on ABC).

"It's TV on the edge. I just hope it's the cutting edge and not the bleeding edge," Carey tells Improv Review. "I love improvisation, I love live television, and I think it's gutsy of NBC and Lorne (Michaels, producer of SNL) to take this risk. “

While SNL has never done an improv show, there’s also never been an episode of SNL in the series’ quarter-century history that didn’t employ alumni from big-deal improvisation groups like Los Angeles’ The Groundlings and Chicago’s Second City. Ex-Groundlings in the current cast include Will Ferrell, Chris Parnell and Maya Rudolf. Former Second City troupers include Horatio Sanz, Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey.

Here’s the Improv Review story.


Herc here again. Sean Jordan of Zentertainment, who sent in the piece, now adds this:

Hey all.

God, do I hate April Fool's Day. I'm not sure if the DREW/SNL news is fake or not, but it's looking more and more like it, and I just wanted to alert you to it. Those among you who have fact-checked this seem to be getting denials... My sincere apologies, this came from a source that has been trustworthy in the past, and it came in to me on 4/2, so I forgot about that dreaded holiday...



Readers Talkback
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  • April 2, 2001, 7:10 p.m. CST


    by MrToxie

    i hope this isnt as lame-ass as Who's Line is getting.

  • April 2, 2001, 7:41 p.m. CST


    by GrandpaTed

    This a fake article from a terrible Web site. This won't happen. It's an April Fools joke, and an obvious one. SNL would not do this, and the improv community hates Drew Carey because he cheapens improv. Go see a good improv show, like NY's Kabaam!! (improvised comicbooks -- with comics pro guest stars) or Next Big Broadway Musical. If you actually believed that site, you are dumb.

  • April 2, 2001, 7:44 p.m. CST

    I think you're lame

    by Ambrose Chappell

    Well, not really, but you didn't even explain why you think Whose Line is "lame-ass", something that I happen to agree with you on. So let me explain for you. In the BBC version of the show the players rotated for every show whereas in the ABC version only the fourth player rotates each week. This is a problem because the three that are in each and every episode (Wayne, Collin and Ryan) get so used to each other that they settle into comfortable niches and end up being type-cast for certain games (like Wayne always being the singer in the compilation album game or Ryan always doing the sound effects in the sound effect game). Yeah, it's still improv, but in the end it detracts from the pure spontinaity found in the BBC series where any player could end up in any game.

  • April 2, 2001, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Tom Green

    by superman5150

    Remember when Tom Green hosted? He improvised some of scenes, and the castmates froze 70% of the time. If anything, they might make the opening monologe some sort improv crap. Either way, Tina Fey will be on.

  • April 2, 2001, 7:48 p.m. CST

    don't even think about it

    by bswise

    Actually, this could be one of their funniest shows.

  • April 2, 2001, 7:54 p.m. CST

    You could blow a' this, you could blow a' that!

    by Ambrose Chappell

    I can't believe I just saw Chrisopher Walken dancing to Fatboy Slim. That is one beautiful, hilarious video. God Bless Spike Jonze!

  • April 2, 2001, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Gullibility, I declare!

    by GrandpaTed

    Look, people, Think about the date. The original article was posted April 1. Go to that site from the link. You will see it's all an attempt at being funny, which it is not.

  • April 2, 2001, 8:04 p.m. CST

    Improb improv?

    by Village Idiot

    Does anyone remember the episode with Freddie Prinze Jr. hosting? There was a sketch in that one with Will Ferrell as a doctor that was so bizarre, I think that there must have been some improv going on. It was funny.

  • April 2, 2001, 8:08 p.m. CST

    Walk without rhythm and it won't attract the worm

    by dr_nick

    Least I think thats how it goes. One of the coolest videos ever made. Glad I stopped to see what the hell Chris Walken was doin on mtv. I like Who's Line. Only seen a few eps of the British version, and liked them too. Damn cable company's gotta be the only one in the country without Comedy Central. It does seem to be getting tired. It's gotten to the point where I'll record it to skip the boring stuff. When Wayne Brady has to do something as a sports caster he seems to ignore the fact he's a SPORTS REPORTER and goes straight into the impression. The greatest hits stuff all seems the same. And the funniest stuff is usually when they mess up, or have the audience go up there and screw up.

  • April 2, 2001, 9:13 p.m. CST

    They'll say it's "all improv" but they'll spend a week rehearsin

    by Regis Travolta

    Don't believe a word of this improv shit even Drew Carey's "Whose Line Is It Anyway" has writers who come up with the topics and offer "suggestions". SNL rehearses from Tuesday morning thru Saturday dinner time each and every week and they'll do the same routine the week leading up to Carey's hosting. The media line will be "it's all improv this week" but don't buy it. They will have everything planned out in advance. Some of it will be improv but not the majority of the show, they're no longer creative at SNL that's why the show sucks now.

  • April 2, 2001, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Regis, THIS IS NOT TRUE.

    by GrandpaTed

    Once again, this is an April Fool's joke, you complete morons. You will believe anything, apparently. And "Whose Line" DOES NOT have writers. Their newly found success is partially baed in that fact, with the writer's strike looming. When that hits, the show may go to three nights a week. The contract has been renewed through 2004. This is because of the lack of writers.

  • April 2, 2001, 10:54 p.m. CST

    I know this is AF, but i can't resist...

    by majorq007 opportunity to bash Drew Carey. Not only is he unfunny in his scripted show, Who's Line is the bastardized incarnation of the superior british version. That man presides over a wasteless bastion of over-used, terrible premises that are beaten to the ground by promising comics who are restrained by carey and the necessities of a mainstream american audience. In summary: Drew Carey is not funny.

  • April 2, 2001, 11:16 p.m. CST

    I love Tina Fey!

    by METHOS

    It's the best Weekend Update since Dennis Miller.

  • April 3, 2001, 1:56 a.m. CST

    Whose Line...

    by Toonimator

    ...I don't think Drew's particularly to blame. He seems to have a genuine love for it, but the show HAS gotten pretty formulaic. The British show had it's formulaic moments too... by the end of the run, "Helping Hands" was always Ryan with Colin's hands... Ryan or Mike McShane would do the sound FX in the Sound FX game... Tony or Greg always seemed to be the host in Party Quirks. The thing that always bugged me about the show was when they'd announce the game, and before Clive or Drew's finished reading who's doing what, the contestants are assuming positions. It just added a "rehearsed" feel to it... I know, some games like Party Quirks require some before-hand work (dropping off the Quirk Envelopes). I guess there was an episode from the British version with outtakes, showing that they hafta re-do the games sometimes. I still wanna see that. Anyways, back in the early 90s in high school, my 10th grade English teacher spent over a month having us play the game in class and watch episodes of it and Monty Python. That was fun :) As for Drew, part 2... I really don't think he's trying to do anything great on his own sitcom. He's like Jerry Seinfeld, he doesn't act very well and knows it, and doesn't try to hide it. So he just has fun with it (hence the musical numbers, the April Fools episodes, etc). For Whose Line, I think it's just misplaced good intentions. I'm surprised ABC hasn't censored them more, since it doesn't fall under the "cop show" category AND repeatedly takes pot-shots at Disney & ABC. But it wouldn't surprise me in the least that some suit is "strongly suggesting" they stick with the formulas (Hoedown, Newsanchors, Wayne's Musical Numbers, etc). Fans seem to enjoy them, but that's cuz people are sheep. Personally my favorites are the quick ones, like World's Worst (one of the best on the Brit series, an end-of-show game here), Scenes from a Hat, 90-second Alphabet, etc. I also loved Party Quirks, but their Dating Game apes it a bit much... Drew's mentioned several times, and the cast's reactions shows their agreement, that they're pretty tired of Hoedowns. The only other serious gripe I have with the show is Drew's constantly repeating that it's the show where everything's made up and the points don't matter. They NEVER mention the points mattering on the British version, and Clive was a little more creative with his points. Drew's had his moments though. Then there's the whole confusion of who the winner is... now, the winner sits at the desk while drew does a skit with the rest, then someone else reads the credits! At least they finally got the credit-reading in there. Okay, enough of that for tonight... I preferred the more varied cast of the British show, but the American one's not all bad (bring back Mike McShane! Fly Tony Slattery over! and... oh hell, I've forgotten everyone else's names). But FOR GOD'S SAKE, NEVER EVER BRING THAT ASIAN COMEDIENNE ON AGAIN! She's the worst of the new bunch, IMO. So that wraps this up, this is Toonimator saying "good night," good night!

  • April 3, 2001, 2:07 a.m. CST

    Well put, Toonimator

    by Ambrose Chappell

    I couldn't agree with you more. All of the hoedowns, news anchors, and CD compilations (among a handful of other games) have become very formulaic with each of the actors assuming the same old roles and personalities for each game. Wouldn't it be fun to see a non-censored, non-formulaic improv show on a channel where the actors could get away with just about anything? Maybe late-night HBO or Cinemax. It wouldn't even have to a comedy show, just a half-hour of a group of quick-witted folks coming up with whatever characters and plot they can. Like a spontaneous soap-opera or hard-boiled detective story. I could be cheap too. Just point a camera at a stage, give the actors a wardrobe of misc. costumes and let them have at it.

  • April 3, 2001, 6:36 a.m. CST

    I miss Joe Piscopo

    by Juggernaut125

    The funniest episode I have ever witnessed (in reruns) was with Joe Piscopo and Don Rickles hosting. Joe and another cast member were cops, and Don was a mafia informant. At one point, Don slaps Joe in the face and the two of em start cracking up. By the end of the skit, they were just slapping each other and laughing. No one gave a damn about the skit any more. And it was FUN! Now, the show has to run without a hitch. Everyone lives in fear of the network and losing his or her job if he screws up. And THAT is why SNL has passed its prime. Time to shoot this dying horse.

  • April 3, 2001, 7:59 a.m. CST


    by soup

    christopher of the funniest guest.."what i need is more cowbell!" oh shit, classic, even jimmy fallon was laughing

  • April 3, 2001, 10:29 a.m. CST

    This rumor SHOULD be true. . .

    by Hardyboy

    Face it: given the quality of so much of SNL's writing, do you believe that an all-improv show could be any worse? If Lorne Michaels wasn't so focused on dreaming up the next movie spin off (I can see it now: Rob Schneider in PHOTOCOPY GUY: THE MOVIE!) he might actually give it a shot. And, BTW, bash Whose Line all you want. . .Wayne Brady is consistently creative and funny.

  • April 3, 2001, 10:29 a.m. CST

    This may be an obvious comment....

    by Studio Lackey

    ...but considering how spotty SNL skits are when they have a week to prepare, I'm not optimistic about SNL on the fly.

  • April 3, 2001, 12:53 p.m. CST

    More of Whose Line & SNL

    by Toonimator

    I agree that Wayne Brady's great. At first I avoided him, since they always used him in the song sketches, and I get tired of those really quick (mostly because something about the camera cuts makes it seem like they're a convenient one to go through a couple "takes" to get just the right song)... but his originality brought to mind another formulaic point in songs, esp. the hoedown. Colin's always 3rd, and never gives a damn about making a rhyme, more often than not he just lets it peter out. Then Ryan, 4th as always, has the dirty verse, the majority of the time blasting Drew or, to a much lesser extent, Colin. As for SNL... I agree that Lorne's just looking for the next film. Mike & Dana ruined it for everyone else... they revitalized the SNL flick, and were pretty much the only successful ones, right? It's amazing to see someone praise a Joe Piscopo sketch... I must have missed that one! One rerun I saw years ago had Ed Asner, and at the end he came out to say g'night and was in a Robin Hood costume and said they had so much fun that the NEXT week's show would be the rest of what they filmed THAT week. That sounded promising (of course I didn't get to see the next one...). And Christopher Walken's "Cowbell" sketch was great... Jimmy was cracking up a bit much however. It might be fun to see an improv episode... but the timing of the article is just too suspect. One would hope they'd do it well, especially since so many of the cast are from improv comedy troupes. Plus it'd be nice just so we wouldn't have to see them attempting to be subtle about reading the cue cards. I've grudgingly gotten to like Will Ferrell's comedy (the wannabe cheerleaders just put me off for so long... but the music teachers redeemed that bit) but he is one of the worst when it comes to the cue cards. His comic acting in the pre-taped sketches is great (that German & the Baby short film was ridiculously funny) but his live stuff just seems... well... Piscopoian. Only funnier. Anyways, I should attempt to get some work done today, so LIVE FROM LA! IT'S TUESDAY AFTERNOON!!!!!! (okay, it doesn't have the same ring...)

  • April 3, 2001, 2:04 p.m. CST

    british Who's Line is great...

    by gary2012

  • April 3, 2001, 3:49 p.m. CST

    This will not work!

    by The Tao of Joe

    Whose line is it anyway tapings are about 3-4 hours long and are edited down, to create a concentration of purely funny stuff. DOing it live for the show's entire running length, and you will have major lulls, but hey thats like any other SNL episode. Maybe they can pull it off, without accidentally using the F-word too much, being an improvisasionalist myself, I know that will be a challenge. This is the way

  • April 3, 2001, 4:43 p.m. CST

    It has to have already happened

    by MagicCow

    Especially on the earlier mentioned skit with Will Ferrel as the doctor that lost the baby. Everybody in it but Tim Meadows (Dr Poop) start cracking up at one point. Also, right after Dr. Poop leaves Chris Parnell asks him what was that and he replies that he couldnt think of anything. The funniest part, though, was seeing Will Ferrel with his hand over his mouth and his eyes watering. BTW Is this a whose line is it anyway talkback???

  • April 3, 2001, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Finale? They're finally shooting that horse?

    by DearGodMySpleen

    Oh, SEASON finale. Dammit, don't get my hopes up!

  • April 4, 2001, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Whose Line Is Still Great

    by WAnglais

    Okay, for all you "Whose Line" bashers, the show has been around since (I believe) the early 80's. It was on my local PBS station at that time. Yes, I watched it then, and loved it. Ryan Styles himself said in a recent interview that they have been doing it for 22 years, so of course they know how each other will work. The performers themselves show a dislike for some games ("Hoedown") and a genuine like for others ("Party Quirks," "Super Heroes"). They also love working with each other, and with Drew. Which brings me to another point. I have spoken with Drew, and he loves improv, and openly admits he stinks at it. He's a very driven guy who worked hard to get where he is. He set goals for himself, and worked to get them. The fact that he is a normal-looking guy from Cleveland seems to make it open season on Drew-bashing. Sure, he can't act--but neither could Seinfeld. Neither could Bob Newhart. You can name plenty of sit-com stand-ups who can't act. But, they surround themselves with talented people and great writing and have a blast. Personally, I think "The Drew Carey Show" is funny. He tries new things every season. The live episodes, the musical numbers, the April Fools contests, the 3D episode, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, if you watch closely, you can see him crack up during a scene. He's having a blast, and getting paid for it. Plus, he's a nice guy, giving to his friends, hometown and staff. So, before you continue to bash him, get yourself off the couch, set your own goals and work toward them.

  • April 4, 2001, 8:08 p.m. CST

    SNL sucks anyway

    by jedeye

    Seems to me it may as well have been improv for the last 3 years or so anyway. This show is the Star Trek of the comedy world; every new iteration sucks harder than the last. The only castmembers on this show with talent are Will Ferrel and Darryl Hammond. Kattan BLOWS, Shannon was WAY overrated, and Anna Gasteyer is quite possibly the ugliest woman on TV today. It's sad when MadTV generates more laughs in a half hour than I get from 90 minutes of SNL, but that's the way it has been lately. MadTv also has Mo Collins and Will Sasso, the funniest people on TV today. If SNL wants to stay consistently funny, they need to just have a 90 minute Celebrity Jeopardy, that is the only funny thing they have done in the last 5 years.....

  • April 5, 2001, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Hey, listen...

    by buster00

    ABC is owned by Disney. BY DISNEY!!! Need I remind everyone? This is DISNEY shit. When is the last time Disney did something that wasn't calously CALCULATED? As a part-time improv player myself, and an ardent fan of Whose Line (both incarnations), AND a full time critic of Disney's horseshit, I still feel compelled to remark that something triggers my Spider Sense on this. And I LIKE Drew Carey and the other players! Hard to tell.