The cast members of the Emmy-nominated TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” will present their improv tour “Whose Live Anyway?” at 8 p.m. April 5 at the IU Auditorium. The 90-minute show is filled with improvised comedy and songs based on audience suggestions. The Indiana Daily Student spoke with actor and “Whose Live Anyway?” performer Dave Foley.
Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
IDS: How did you get involved with “Whose Live Anyway”?
DF: I got involved because of a late-night phone call. The guys were on the road with Ryan Stiles, and Ryan got sick, and they needed someone to fill in for the show the next day. So I got a call around 11 p.m. from the guys asking if I could meet them in Indiana. I didn’t have much time to think about it so I said yes.
When was that phone call?
Well, that was about a year ago, I guess when I first started going out and doing some shows with them. But then we had such a good time. I forget how many shows I’ve down now with the guys.
How is the dynamic of an improv show different from the work you’ve done in movies?
The main difference with improv is you don’t have to do any work until you hit the stage, so your days are free. You have a lot of free time. You just show up, walk out onstage, perform for 90 minutes and then the show’s over.
Did you ever watch the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
Yeah, I watched it occasionally, not all of the time. But I’ve known Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie from Toronto days, going back almost 30 years, so I’d tune in to watch those guys. And I’ve known Greg Proops for a long time and Bill Murray for a while. Jeff Davis is the only guy in the group who I didn’t know before starting to do these.
When you watched the show, did it ever strike you as something you’d want to be a part of?
Well, it never struck me as something that I wanted to be a part of. I said, “Oh improv’s so hard.” But, that’s how I started out. I started out as an improviser when I was a kid. That was the first thing I did as a comedian was improv. I think it came at the right time, and I went “Oh this is actually a lot of fun being onstage with a bunch of funny people.”
Do you have a favorite improv game you play during the show?
There’s a game called "Sentences" that I really like where we hand out slips of paper to the audience before the show. And, we ask people to write down sentence-length lines of dialogue. Lately, Joel and I have been doing it, where you then have all these slips of paper in your pocket and you get an idea for a scene.
And, as you’re playing the scene out, every once in a while, we have to reach into our pocket and grab one of the slips of paper and incorporate that line of dialogue into whatever we’re doing in the moment.
Do you have any funny or interesting memories from previous shows?
You know what, honestly, I can’t think of anything because I have such a terrible memory. It all disappears. That’s one of the things with improv, it all just disappears as soon as you finish it. All I can say is the fun of the show is you’re on stage with other guys that make you laugh. It’s also fun to be funny.
At the end of the show, you feel pretty good about yourself after you’ve gone out and been funny for a while. Of course, the flipside is true, if you go out there and you’re not funny at all, you feel pretty terrible about yourself.
Can you tell me what audiences should expect if they come to the show?
The thing to expect is a show where we have no idea what to expect. We’re as in the dark about it as the audience. Just know that we’re very skilled and trained professionals, so most of the time it goes well for everybody. I’d say at least 70% of the time.