Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Am Not Watching Love Triangle

I did watch Improv-A-Ganza, however...

Taped in Las Vegas in front of an audience that appears to be mostly drunk, the show features Drew Carey and a bunch of his comedian comrades, most of whom were on Whose Line Is It Anyway? at one point or another. Indeed, if you've seen Whose Line, you know pretty much what you're getting here. If anything differentiates this show from Whose Line, it's the fact that this show is even less of a game show than Whose Line was. There's no attempt at a scoring system, a winner, or even really a host - while the announcer (and if that was Rich Fields, he sounds pretty different than I remember) introduces Drew as the host, he spends most of his time just playing the games like everyone else. Indeed, the show really just seems to consist of these guys walking on stage and playing whatever improv game they feel like playing. Thankfully, they're funny. Could Game Show Network aim higher than this? Sure - but let's be happy with what we get. This show is funny, and that's more than I can say for a lot of the shows I've reviewed here.

Now, while Improv-A-Ganza may be much less of a game show then Whose Line was, it still qualifies for the label game show much more than BBC Radio 4's topical comedy show The Now Show, which consists mostly of stand-up comedy. Hosted by Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis, it's a half-hour show on BBC Radio 4, but a 45-minute extended version - The Now Show Extra - premiered on April 8 on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Forgive me for going off-topic, but as BBC Radio 4 Extra is premiering the similarly extended The News Quiz Extra on April 22, I'm going to go ahead and review both.

The first thing you need to know - both The Now Show and The Now Show Extra air on Fridays, but if you come in expecting an extended version of that night's Now Show, you're out of luck. The Now Show Extra is an extended version of the previous week's Now Show. This explains why, even though The News Quiz starts its new season tomorrow (April 15), The News Quiz Extra isn't premiering until April 22.

The second thing you need to know - the extended material is completely separate from the show that aired on BBC Radio 4. We get the main show first (complete with the credits), then Steve and Hugh come back on and introduce the host of The Now Show Extra, Laura Shavin. Laura then goes on to introduce various bits and pieces of Now Show material - routines from years past, routines from the taping that didn't make the final unextended show, backstage interviews. The Now Show Extra even has its own credits. It's nothing earth-shattering, but as a big fan of The Now Show, I'm not complaining too much. My only real complaint - The Now Show Extra is not available as a podcast, whereas the unextended Now Show is.

Bummer, huh?


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