If you are a fan of improv comedy, you have probably heard of the 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' show. It was one of the best comedy shows on TV, the best one on ABC, for sure. However, one installment of the show that I had watched was undoubtedly creepy.
Here is what you have to know to understand my disturbance.
'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' first originated as a radio series in the United Kingdom, before coming to TV in 1988, which lasted until 1998. It was a fake "game show" with a host and four contestants. There were several "games" in the show, based on what the audience shouted. Contestants acted out an improvised sketch until the host pressed the buzzer to stop the sketch. Then, the next game began. Drew Carey was the host of the U.S. version from 1998-2007.
All of the contestants had good relationships. Most notably, there was a friendship between Ryan and Colin, and between Ryan and Drew, the host. Keep it all in mind.
Twelve years ago, around 2001 or 2002, I was channel-surfing, and occasionally switched to Whose Line. Drew was pressing the buzzer and laughing his butt off, the audience was applauding and cheering, and the guys were standing on the stage, all four of them, smiling. Some game had just finished, and I could have missed some really great stuff; Drew's laughter was hysterical.
That was where things went totally wrong. Drew just would not stop laughing. As the guys took their seats backstage, it was time for Drew to make another points-related joke and announce the next challenge. Instead, he just laughed and laughed. There was an awkward pause; the confused contestants began to look at each other. That was when Ryan began to act strangely. He was just staring at Drew, observing him motionlessly. Was he hypnotized or frightened? It was really creepy.
Drew started to cough severely. He rose from his desk and tried to go somewhere, but suddenly fell over, face down, on the stage. The audience was silent - I do not know why. The camera focused on Drew, and occasionally the guys. I think it was shock, because even I felt it while watching. What the hell - why do they show such a thing? What is going on here?
When Drew fell over, all of the guys jumped up from their seats. All - except for Ryan. Instead of helping, he cringed and sat back, while still staring at agonizing Drew. It was very unlikely for a friend to act like this; it appeared that he did not even care about Drew's health! Wayne was holding Drew, while Colin slapped on his back. Brad poured a glass of water for Drew.
"Do you need any help?" somebody shouted; I think it was from the audience. Nobody bothered to respond, though. The cast talked to each other, visibly concerned about the whole mess. You could not figure out a single word. The microphones must have been switched off for some reason, or whatever. I do not know.
Colin said something to Ryan. Maybe, he even shouted it. Ryan did not answer. He just shook his head and shrank back even more.
I watched, freaked out. Why do they show us somebody choking nearly to death during prime time? Is this supposed to be funny routine? I am not a kind of person who complains about TV stuff and writes protest letters, but this was the case just for it. Are they out of their mind!?
Drew was still trying to clear his throat. Suddenly, he coughed blood.
"FUCK," shouted someone loudly. I think it could be someone from the crew, maybe Dan Patterson, the producer. I was totally confused. The program was usually very censored. So... was this unedited? Filmed live? But why would they broadcast it? I had no idea.
This lasted for another ten minutes. Nobody else came in, nobody tried to resolve the problem. Laura Hall, the musician, was not present at the piano. However, she usually was not there during non-musical rounds, so the last game must have been one of those. At the end, Drew was not showing any signs of life, or typical signs of death. Still, it was immensely creepy.
The broadcast was abruptly interrupted for commercial break. After, another Whose Line episode began, without any oddities in it whatsoever.
So there you have it.
As far as I know, nobody mentioned the incident in mass media or internet forums. The show was cancelled in 2005, but Drew Carey is still hosting a couple of TV shows. He is safe and sound, and still is a friend of Ryan Stiles. I watched all of the episodes of the show on YouTube, but never saw that particular one again.
In one occasion, Drew had choked from water, but was quickly relieved. The whole thing took less than a minute, and Ryan was really caring about Drew this time.
As well, some Ryan hoedowns, like "I'll have my own show, when I'll murder Drew Carey", become very creepy for me. However, that is basically all I have noticed.
I still cannot make my mind about what it was.