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Whose Line is it Anyway?
Saturday 22nd February 2020 8:15 pm

When Missy died I learnt the best thing to do is to always have something to watch/listen to, then it's harder to think. So after Sammy died I was on the look out for podcasts and found one called Rule of Three, where comedians talk about a comedy thing they love. Cariad Lloyd did one talking about Whose Line is it Anyway. One of the things she mentioned was that it was all on All4. When I was ill I re-listened to bits of the podcast and thought that it was the perfect thing to watch because the cameras do not move. And you only get 12 minutes at a time before there's adverts (and when I first started watching 12 minutes was all I could get through in one go).

And I've discovered all sorts of things I never knew about it at the time.

The game I remembered most was World's Worst, where they step off the world's worst step. One of the reasons I remember it so well is that the last round on Mock the Week - scenes We'd Like to see - always reminded me of it. Turns out the person in charge of/who set up Whose Line did the same with Mock the Week. And when Mock the Week began it had a lot more in common with Whose Line than it does now.

When it was originally on I didn't like Greg Proops. I felt like he'd taken over Tony Slattery's part as the person who is guessing on Let's Make a Date and Party Quirks. It turns out that Greg was before Tony 'left'. (It turns out that Tony was fired because he was self-medicating for his bipolar disorder with drugs and alcohol and it didn't go well. It's really sad.) And there were plenty of other people who were the guessers. And Greg is funny. I don't remember/didn't notice at the time how antagonistic he and Clive Anderson were to each other. I found a video of Greg guesting on Clive's talk show, which was 8 minutes of them insulting in other - occasionally getting some questions and answers in.

I knew Stephen Fry had been in it. I have a vague memory of having listened to one of the radio episodes. I've only seen him in one episode so far but he not only refused to sing in the Hoedown but he didn't even talk in time. In comparison, in the last series of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue he sung without complaint - although it would have been in bad taste to complain. His singing is fine - it's perfectly average.

Sandi Toksvig is great in it. Which is not a surprise. But she's a rare short person in it - most of the other performers are around six foot, if not more. Her voice has not changed at all since the early 90s. She did a game of Authors where her author was a cake baking book. Particularly ironic as I watched it the same week she announced she was leaving Bake Off.

There were some interesting people in one (or two) episodes. Graeme Garden was in an episode in series 1. He did ok - it felt like they were all feeling their way through it. Somehow he doesn't look any different 30 years later. Ardal O'Hanlan was in an episode and he wasn't great. Eddie Izzard was good - but another person who looks even shorter next to all the tall people.

When it was on I really liked Ryan Stiles for the same reason Cariad Lloyd did - the physical comedy he did. This time I am particularly liking Josie Lawrence, Caroline Quentin, Sandi Toksvig and Tony Slattery.

It turns out the the US version was a 'family show' so they censored all sorts. It's hilarious given that All 4 ask me to confirm that I'm 16 before every episode, the first one I watched at Christmas had naked people in Newsflash, and at the end of one game of Party Quirks where Tony didn't guess two of the quirks he told Clive to F off.

It also turns out that they started making more Whose Line in America in 2013. Amazon Prime has a random selection, where the description of who is on it doesn't match the episode. I made the mistake of starting with 'series 5' which all had guest stars, none of which I've heard of and none of which are improvisers (or necessarily any good at improvising). Series 6 was better but it took me a little while to get into it. It was the Science of Laughter episode on The Infinite Monkey Cage that helped me understand why the audience seemed so excitable.

In Britain if something is funny we laugh. If something is really funny, or really clever, or more often both, we clap. In America if something is funny they laugh. If something is really funny they cheer. And they're really into cheering. When a game is announced they like (eg Scenes From a Hat) they cheer over Aisha's whole explanation. In comparison, an announcement of Mornington Crescent on ISIHAC will get a brief "Yay".

I also remember hearing a while back that on Red Dwarf they try and cut out all the clapping. Whereas in American sitcoms they'll leave it in. The Science of Laughter also pointed out that you laugh more when other people laugh. So a live audience laughing will make you laugh more. But a live audience clapping (or cheering) doesn't do anything for you.


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Updates
Sunday 9th February 2020 5:10 pm

Or things that have (or have not) happened since I had time to blog, months ago...

1. Back in November Sammy had a stroke, struggled for a week and then died. It was a year and seven months old, which made him an old man, but on the young side of old. He couldn't sit up and hold his food and after some experimentation I ended up hitting it with a hammer to break it into bits. Although I found that the sweetcorn pieces still stay in one piece. And it's hard to get into a sunflower seed shell using only your fingernails. I will get another hamster later this year.

2. I still haven't read Yuletide. Or any of the other secret santa ficathons. They went live around the time I was ill and it was a while before I could use a computer and then a while before I could use one much. And before then I hadn't read much, mostly because I was either busy or tired. So it just hasn't happened. None of it is going anywhere, so there's plenty of time to get round to it.

3. I have got back into 100 days of code, starting at the beginning of this month. So far I've created two sites, although one was so simple it only took me two hours.

4. One of the things I need to do before I get a new hamster is to sort the lounge out. When I had Sammy, getting to some of my DVDs was a bit tricky. And some of them had poos on. I first need to sort out the mess/dumping ground of my spare room so I can see what space I have for stuff and what storage I have spare. I've started doing half an hour per free weekend, so I've not done much but I will get through it slowly. I definitely need to sort out the kitchen cupboards too, as I have mugs in one cupboard, glasses in another and tumblers in a third. Mind you, if you want something to drink out of, opening pretty much any cupboard will get you something.

5. Tesco have started reducing the amount of frozen free from they have. But I have found that Asda are pretty good for free from (better than Tesco proportionally) and even Lidl have some. But Sainsburys are now the only shop in this town that sell my milk, since Tesco decided to increase the amount of space they had for alternative milks so couldn't fit in mine. My grocery shopping has ended up being all the shops.


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What I am reading Wednesday
Wednesday 5th February 2020 8:59 pm

What I Just Finished Reading
The Book of the Year 2019. I've read the previous two so I knew what to expect. But this is the first I've read in ebook format - the only other choice is hardback, which is heavier to carry around and read in bed. It worked out mostly ok, although it took me a while to work out how to zoom into the images and then I couldn't work out how to move around them (kobo help was useless). But I managed to read all the text on them.

What I'm Currently Reading
Not Quite 30-Love by Sally Bradfield. I thought I'd try this because it's all about tennis and written by a tennis insider. But it is a romance. So it doesn't require much brain to read it, although I have been struggling because it's not written in order and I've been confused about the sequence of events. But I am enjoying the tennis. Couldn't care less about the romance.

The Chalet School in Exile. I bought this from GGBP because I have the very cut paperback. And then I haven't got far through it because I know what's going to happen and it's not am easy, happy read. I know it's all happy in the end, but I sort of want to put off them having to leave Austria.

What I'm Reading Next
Probably Theodora and the Chalet School, which I got at the same time as Exile and for the same reason. Or Doctor Who: At Childhood's End, although I am less keen on it being £10 for an ebook. Or, it doesn't come out until later in the month, but Jeremy Hardy Speaks Volumes. Although that's £14 for an ebook which is insane. How can an ebook be more expensive than a paperback (it's just not available in paperback)? Who decided hardbacks are a good idea anyway?


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