In middle school I was in a lot of drama classes. Now it just so happened that that drama class had some legitimate talent in it. Tyson and Brad have gone on to be professional actors in their own right. But back in the day they had to compete with me for on stage supremacy!
Ok, that is not actually true at all.
They ran creative performance circles around me. They sing, they dance. They do accents. I rely almost exclusively on making funny faces, but I had my moments.
I was in a few plays portraying such classic stage character as Felix in the Odd Course le opposite Chris Hanson’s Oscar, Banjo from The man who came to dinner, and Marmadyke Wellburn from some awful little play that is best forgotten. My exploits before an audience in high school were legendary for maybe all the wrong reasons but memorable none the less.
In fact my boy Casey encouraged me to do drama in college. Advice I did not take but maybe should have.
I have always been reluctant to act in plays or any kind of scripted performance because I am bad at memorizing lines. An eidetic memory I have not. And even when I know the lines, they tend to come out of my mouth in the wrong order or as a poor paraphrase that throws off the cues for my fellow thespians.
But none of that matters with improv. So I really enjoyed the improv scene work that became the bread and butter for 7th grade drama teachers who have papers to grade for their English class in the next period.
That means that when Whose Line is it Anyway debuted when I was in high school suddenly there was a glimmer of hope that I could be some kind of entertainer.
Long story short, it’s a rather sobering thought to realize that Ryan Stiles is your ceiling. Yeah I thought I could probably do something in the genre, and his popularity proved that. But let’s be honest, no one has ever said, “Whose the Next Ryan Stiles?” “You know what we need more of? Ryan Stiles.” “What the world needs now, is More, Ryan Stiles” to the tune of Bert Bacharach’s What the world needs now is Love Sweet Love.
Later in life on the rare occasion that I am alone and have the TV all to myself, as I have had endless TV programming choices, on literally hundreds of channels and Eocene of streaming services, after an hour of flipping through the channels, without fail I always return to the Up network, and suffer through all their born again holy-roller neo-evangelical christian propaganda for reruns of whose line because there is literally nothing else on that I would rather watch.