Chattanooga Now 'Whose Live Anyway?' brings TV improv show to Chattanooga

Chattanooga Now 'Whose Live Anyway?' brings TV improv show to Chattanooga

March 13th, 2019 by Susan Pierce in Chattnow Outabout

If you go

› What: “Whose Live Anyway?”

› Where: Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.

› When: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 16

› Admission: $24.50, $39.50, $59.50, $79.50

› For more info: 423-757-5580

Greg Proops, left, and Joel Murray, at right, are joined by Chip Esten and Jeff Davis for the "Whose Live Anyway?" improv show in Walker Theatre on Saturday night. / Facebook.com photo

Greg Proops, left, and Joel Murray, at right,...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Word to the wise: If you're heading to the "Whose Live Anyway?" show, think before speaking. You just might find your words being acted out before your eyes.

"The other day we asked the audience, 'What did you do today?' and someone said, 'Had a baby," says cast member Greg Proops in a telephone interview. "We said, 'Well, thanks for coming!'"

It turned out the audience member's daughter was the new mom — then the quartet of comics acted out a sketch based on that event.

"Whose Live Anyway?" — the live version of the popular late-90s TV improv show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" — is coming to Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium on Saturday night, March 16.

The audience will see three of their favorite comedians from the TV show: Greg Proops, Jeff Davis and Chip Esten (more recently known for his role as Deacon on "Nashville") along with Joel Murray, younger brother of Bill Murray. Audience members might recognize Murray for his acting roles as Pete Cavanaugh on "Dharma & Greg" or Freddy Rumson on "Mad Men."

"We do all the hits from the show: props, greatest hits, we get the audience to tell us an occupation and we do an infomercial," says Proops. "We don't do the hoedown, but we'll be singing because we have Chip and Jeff with us, so we bring people out of the audience to sing songs to them," Proops says. Bob Derkach accompanies them in these improv tunes.

Unlike the TV show, however, there is no host/moderator filling the Drew Carey role. So everything is audience-generated, more audience-interactive.

"Everything we do is based on suggestions from the audience. We don't play a game that's not based on audience suggestion," says Proops.

Before there was "Whose Line" on TV, Proops and Ryan Stiles were already friends. Proops says they have worked together for almost 30 years. He has been associated with "Whose Line" since 1999.

Because of this decades-long friendship, Proops says all the improv gang know how each other thinks and are "good buddies, but it's a little more like the 'Rat Pack element.' It's us all hanging together, having fun together."

Because the live show is not reined in by prime-time censors, it's less formal and not as restricted, he says, "but still family-friendly. With me, it's a matter of taste and manners. People sometimes bring up death, mortuaries and whatnot, and we'll just say 'We've done that before'" if it's a suggestion they don't wish to pursue.

They also steer away from politics, he says, only occasionally touching on the subject. However, during the government shutdown at the first of this year "we were in Arkansas and we gave tickets to federal workers — our show of solidarity," says the comedian.

So what does Proops say to expect Saturday night?

"Tell them to expect drinking and cheers, singing ... and then we do the show."

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.