ABC found a runaway hit when Whose Line Is It Anyway? launched in the summer of 1998. Whose Line was based on the hit British series of the same name, which ran from 1988 – 1999. Both versions of the show challenged a rotating cast of four performers with a series of hilarious improv games, tasking them with doing things like coming up with a freestyle rap based on the spot, based on audience suggestions. Hosted by Drew Carey, the American version introduced the world to the ridiculous talents of folks like Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady, and it ran for 220 episodes 1998 to 2007.
Whose Line was revived in 2013 on The CW, this time hosted by Aisha Tyler and featuring many of the performers who made the earlier versions so much fun. But whatever happened to the Whose Line performers who regularly left us in stitches? We here at Screen Rant have the answers. Check out Where Are They Now: Whose Line Is It Anyway?
15. Stephen Colbert
Plenty of celebrities guest-starred on Whose Line Is It Anyway? over the years, but Stephen Colbert stands out as a familiar name that no one could have guessed would one day be taking over The Late Show from a retiring David Letterman. When Colbert first appeared on Whose Line in 1999, he’d already been part of the short-lived but brilliant Dana Carvey Show, and had begun his long run as a Daily Show correspondent.
In addition to The Daily Show, Colbert spent several seasons playing Chuck Noblet on Comedy Central’s Strangers With Candy. That was all leading up to the show that made him a household name: The Colbert Report. His brilliant satire of right wing talk hosts like Bill O’Reilly kept the Report running for 10 seasons, helped secure Colbert the Late Show gig, and established him as one of the most successful Daily Show — and Whose Line — grads of all time.
14. Ian Gomez
Actor Ian Gomez was one of several performers to put in a handful of Whose Line appearances and then go on to bigger things. He was also a regular on The Drew Carey Show before turning up on Whose Line — a resume entry shared by quite a few of the improv performers who graced the Whose Line stage.
Gomez went on to recurring roles on Felicity and Cougar Town, with stops along the way on shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Grey’s Anatomy, and even a single episode of Lost. These days he can be seen playing the role of Snapper Carr in Supergirl, formerly on CBS and moving to The CW this fall. Fun fact: he’s also married to actress Nia Vardalos, best known for My Big Fat Greek Wedding. For you parents out there, you might have heard his voice on Doc McStuffins, where he voiced “Ricardo race car.”
13. Kathy Kinney
Kathy Kinney also worked with Carey on The Drew Carey Show. She played Mimi Bobeck, Drew’s flamboyant nemesis at Winfred-Lauder. Her long career includes appearances on Newhart, Seinfeld, and The Larry Sanders Show. She eventually plastered the makeup back on to reappear as Mimi on both The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The Price Is Right (hosted by Drew Carey).
In the years since her Whose Line appearance, Kinney has continued to work steadily in both TV and film. She’s had recurring roles on My Name Is Earl (as Officer Bowman) and The Secret Life of the American Teenager (as Bunny), and voiced Rhonda the Walrus in The Penguins of Madagascar. In 2008, she co-created the children’s website MrsP.com. She plays the title character, who reads kids various stories sampled from her magical library. In 2010 she added “author” to her resume, co-writing the 2010 book Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-up Woman’s Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve with Cindy Ratzlaff.
12. Laura Hall
You might not recognize her name right off the bat, but musician Laura Hall was as integral a part of Whose Line Is It Anyway? as any of the comedians on stage. Hall got her start in Chicago, working with improv troupes like Second City. She actually joined Whose Line during the final season of the original UK version of the show, and then appeared in the entire run of the American series that Drew Carey hosted.
She also worked with Carey on his Green Screen Show in 2004, and toured with Drew Carey and the Improv All-Stars. When The CW resurrected Whose Line in 2013 with host Aisha Tyler, Hall was right back on the piano bench. Outside the world of improv comedy, Hall has a folk band called The Sweet Potatoes — that’s adorable — that lets Hall sing and show off her skills on the piano, guitar, ukulele, and accordion. She also teaches musical improv with her husband, Rick.
11. Denny Siegel
Siegel’s first listed IMDb credit was on a show called Show Me the Aliens!, which is kind of awesome. We’d like to imagine it’s a Jerry Maguire spinoff where the Cuba Gooding Jr. character retired and becomes a Fox Mulder-esque crusader for truth about the paranormal. In 1999, she appeared several times as a correspondent on The Daily Show. Her improv skills landed her over a dozen appearances on Whose Line.
In the years since, Siegel has continued to perform comedy regularly in Los Angeles. While her produced TV credits aren’t extensive, she has appeared on shows such as House and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as in a short named “Turn Your Head and Coffin,” which she also co-wrote. Hell, we’d watch that one for the title alone. She also teaches improv at Bang Comedy Studio and Theatre 68.
10. Patrick Bristow
Before he popped up on Whose Line, Patrick Bristow had already landed memorable roles in three of the biggest sitcoms of the ‘90s. He was “The Wig Master” in the Seinfeld episode of the same name; he played Troy on Mad About You; and he recurred as Ellen’s buddy Peter on Ellen. A veteran of the LA sketch comedy troupe The Groundlings, he lent his talents to both the British and American incarnations of Whose Line.
In the years since his first Whose Line spots, he’s played Steve the Choreographer on Curb Your Enthusiasm, recurred on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and lent his voice talents to shows like Family Guy and King of the Hill. Perhaps his biggest bragging rights come from Puppet Up! — Uncensored, a live puppet/improv show he co-created with Brian Henson. He also holds the distinction of having appeared in both Showgirls and So I Married an Axe Murderer. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
9. Jeff Davis
Over the course of his career, Jeff Davis has played Linus in a Groundlings production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown; a 12-year-old prodigy in an episode of Highway to Heaven; and David Lee Roth in an episode of something called Yacht Rock that we refuse to investigate further because it can’t possibly be as amazing as what we’re already imagining. Those credits alone would have earned him a worthy retirement, but he also put in multiple showings on Whose Line.
Before that, he worked with Community creator Dan Harmon on the Channel 101 website, notably appearing in Harmon’s Laser Fart show. That connection has served him well, because he’s now a co-host on Harmon’s improv comedy podcast Harmontown. Like many of the Whose Line crew, he collaborated with his castmates on other projects such as Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show, the Improv All-Stars, and several USO tours. He was one of numerous Whose Line veterans to return for the CW revival of the series in 2013. He also spent some time as an announcer on The Price Is Right.
8. Kathy Greenwood
Kathy appeared some 30 times on Whose Line, and she certainly brought some serious improv bonafides to the table. She got her start in Toronto, working for an offshoot of the legendary Second City comedy troupe. In the early ‘90s, she co-developed a stage show called Not to Be Repeated, in which she and her fellow performers would improv an entire episode of a sitcom based on audience suggestions. Apparently she’s got some serious dramatic acting chops as well: she was nominated for a Gemini for her role on the Canadian period drama Wind at My Back.
She continues her improv work to this day, working as part of the sketch comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed. She’s been a recurring figure on Canadian satirical political show The Rick Mercer Report. You also might have spotted her briefly in last year’s Poltergeist remake, where she played the realtor selling the house where all the bad stuff happens. So, in summation: go see her do improv, but maybe don’t buy a house from her.
7. Chip Esten
Charles “Chip” Esten appeared three dozen times on Whose Line Is It Anyway? over the years, and nearly a half dozen on the UK version that preceded it. Since he’s got solid singing chops, he often teamed up with Wayne Brady for some of the show’s musical games.
Since Drew Carey tends to like to work with the same people repeatedly, Esten appeared not only on Whose Line but also on Carey’s Green Screen Show and his Improv-A-Ganza on the Game Show Network. He also toured with Carey’s Improv All-Stars. He teamed with fellow Whose Line regulars Greg Proops, Ryan Stiles, and Jeff Davis for a touring live improv show called Whose Live Anyway? On the TV front, in recent years he’s made appearances on NCIS: Los Angeles, The Mentalist, and The Office. His biggest post-Whose Line role, however, has been on the ABC series Nashville, where he’s played Deacon Claybourne since 2012.
6. Brad Sherwood
Brad Sherwood’s first acting job was a six-episode stint on the critically acclaimed Steven Bochco series L.A. Law. Beginning in 1992, he became a regular on the British Whose Line, and he even spent a year hosting The Dating Game the year before he joined the American Whose Line.
Sherwood hasn’t really had one defining role in the years since Whose Line. He frequently appeared in sketches on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and he pops up all the time on those VH-1 shows like I Love the 80’s. He’s also been a regular on Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea Lately. Like many other Whose Line alum, he showed up on Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show and Improv-A-Ganza. He also co-created the two-man touring improv show An Evening with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood. That partnership with Mochrie bore epic fruit during the 2007 Congressional Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington D.C., during which Karl Rove introduced the world to his alter ego, “M.C. Rove.”
5. Greg Proops
Proops first landed on most viewers’ radar thanks to the British Whose Line, where his razor-sharp improv skills ensured he’d be a staple of both that and the American remake. He appeared on nearly 60 episodes of the American version, becoming one of the most frequent recurring people in the “fourth slot.”
In the years since, Proops has been a frequent guest on Chelsea Lately and has done voice work on films and shows such as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bob the Builder, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. That latter role follows up Proops’ memorable turn in The Phantom Menace, when he voiced one half of the two-headed announcer narrating young Anakin’s pod race. (He was the head speaking English — or rather, Galactic Basic.) One of the best places to find Proops these days is on his regular podcast, The Smartest Man in the World. Gotta admire a man with humility.
4. Wayne Brady
Along with Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady is one of the most recognizable stars of Whose Line Is It Anyway? Like Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles, Brady appeared in all three incarnations of Whose Line: the British original, the American revamp, and the later CW version hosted by Aisha Tyler. He often stole the show during the musical segments, and his charisma and multifaceted talent as a performer has made him one of the series’ breakout stars.
He got his own variety show, The Wayne Brady Show, in 2001, and you’d be hard pressed to find somebody better suited to the format. He also launched an Emmy-winning daytime talk show in 2002. Two of his biggest pop culture landmarks in recent years were playing Barney Stinson’s gay brother on How I Met Your Mother and playing against his own wholesome image in an unforgettable Chappelle’s Show sketch (“Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a b***h?”). He’s also a regular on the stage, having appeared in Chicago and Kinky Boots on Broadway. Brady has a regular (and hilarious) show at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, and he’s hosted Let’s Make a Deal since 2009.
3. Colin Mochrie
Colin Mochrie appeared in every episode of the American Whose Line, a run that stretched from 1998 to 2006. Along with Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady, and Drew Carey himself, Mochrie is one of the faces most instantaneously associated with the show. But believe it not, Mochrie actually had to try out for the British version of the show multiple times before he landed a role. That’s sort of like Superman flubbing his first couple of Justice League tryouts.
In addition to numerous small TV appearances, Mochrie has done tons of commercial work — a few years back, you might have seen him sporting a pink tutu as Nabisco’s “Snack King.” He even worked the same 2003 PR campaign as Leslie Nielsen and Wayne Gretzky, trying to lure tourists back to Toronto after the SARS outbreak. Given how much Mochrie is inseparably associated with Whose Line, however, it’s not surprising that much of his noteworthy work in the years since has involved improv. He turned up on Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show and on GSN’s Improv-A-Ganza, and when The CW resurrected Whose Line in 2013, he once again became a staple, appearing on nearly 70 episodes of the revival.
2. Ryan Stiles
After coming up in the comedy trenches of Second City in Toronto and Los Angeles, Ryan Stiles became one of the most frequent contestants on the British Whose Line Is It Anyway? In 1995, he signed on as Drew Carey’s slacker buddy Lewis in The Drew Carey Show. Those two credits combined like Voltron when Carey sold ABC on an American revival of Whose Line in 1998. Along with Colin Mochrie, the lanky Stiles became one of only two performers to appear in every episode of the American Whose Line. He was even nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his work on the series.
Stiles’ longest-running TV gig after Whose Line was as Dr. Herb Melnick on Two and a Half Men, a recurring role that stretched over a decade. He showed up in an episode of Reno 911!, he voiced Mr. Moustachio in the 2009 Astro Boy movie, and he returned, along with Mochrie, when Whose Line Is It Anyway? rose from the ashes on The CW in 2013.
1. Drew Carey
Carey launched his standup career in 1985, first gaining national attention when he performed on Star Search in 1988. He earned infinite comedic bragging rights after Johnny Carson invited him over to the couch after a performance on The Tonight Show, and a few years later he was launching his self-titled sitcom on ABC. That show proved to practically be a waiting room for Whose Line — damn near every one of the Whose Line regulars appeared on The Drew Carey Show at some point or another.
Carey’s love of improv has continued on long beyond Whose Line’s final episode in 2007. In 2004 – 2005 he hosted Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show on The WB, a Whose Line-esque series that added an extra twist into the improv mix. The show moved to Comedy Central after The WB dropped the ax on it. He returned to the well again in 2011 with Improv-A-Ganza on the Game Show Network. Given how many Whose Line regulars appeared on both those shows, it’s kind of amazing that Carey didn’t wind up back in the host’s seat for the 2013 Whose Line reboot. Like several of his Whose Line castmates, Carey has also found work as a game show host — he succeeded Bob Barker on The Price Is Right beginning in 2007.