Aired March 9, 2013 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/Yhyv7lhIT6E
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of March 10th, 2013.
A bit of happy, wonderful news from the world of television: “Whose Line is it Anyway” is coming back for a summer run. That delightful show, where improvisers take suggestions from people and do crazy things with them – kind of like Congress – it’s been off the air for six years. Even though reruns make it feel like it was just last Wednesday.
Still, the CW Network, which is co-owned by CBS and Warner Brothers – CW – that’s how they got their initials – did you know that? It’s a good thing it wasn’t Fox and Universal. Anyhoo, they’ll be airing the brand-new season of “Whose Line is it Anyway.” And it’ll be just like old times. Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady will all be back to do their thing. Which means Ryan will be genius, Colin will be bald, and Brady won’t actually be funny but he can sing the phone book and shake his tush for the ladies.
Drew Carey will not be back to host, and let’s face it, that’s a blessing. He meant well, but he was the weak link when he was in scenes. And when he wasn’t, the camera would spend half the program showing him laughing instead of showing us what he was laughing at. If I wanna spend a half hour watching someone giggle like an idiot, I’ll go visit my uncle Brian in the mental home. And the tragic part is he works there in personnel. But I digress.
For all its flaws, “Whose Line is it Anyway” was an oasis of old-fashioned entertainment. And by old-fashioned, I don’t mean like barbershop quartets and public hangings. I mean simple, live-by-your-wits live performance. Look around: all the sitcoms now are shot like movies, all the movies look like video games, and all the video games look like the end of the world. “Whose Line” is just four brave souls and a piano-playing lesbian. How can you beat it?
I admit, I have had my secret dreams of being part of an improv troupe. I’m quick-thinking, I’m funny, I can imitate noises. Here, listen, listen: shhhhhhh – that’s a shower. Shhhhhhhhhh. Not bad, right. Sssssssssssss. That’s a bicycle tire running out of air. Or my Cousin Velvel pishing his pants. See? My talents are protean.
I can also spin comic monologues out of thin air. Here, wait wait. Okay. Hi, my name’s Rabbi Sol. Great to be here. Hey . . . how about those . . . sports teams. You ever notice how they, uh, play sports? One time I met a friend, he was going off to play tennis – no wait, softball. I was like, “Hey, friend. Where you going?” And he’s like, (different voice) “I’m going to play softball.” And I’m, like,
(different voice) “Why” – no, wait, that’s his voice. I’m like, “Why?” And he says, (different voice) “Because I like it. Football’s too dangerous.” And then he hurts himself. See? My stories have an arc! But I know improvisation is really about the other person, working with your partner to create magic. So let’s do this. You say something funny, and I’ll build on it. Go ahead: Uh huh, yes, and . . . Yes, and . . . Yes and . . . And how long have you been a gynecologist? The ostrich farm. Aaaand scene.
Of course, to be on a show like “Whose Line is it Anyway,” you also have to be musical. You have to take a topic and instantly fashion it into a song. I can do that! Here:
Doi doi doi doi-doi-doi-doi-doi-doi-doi.
I went to the synagogue to pray to HaShem.
There were many people there, I said hello to them.
They threw me on the beemah and started feeling up my crotch.
And when it was over I was missing my tallis and my watch.
My tallis, my wallet and my watch. Yeah!
CW, you have my resume. I’m sure the show will be great as it is, but there’s always room for . . . improv-ment.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York. You may now read the Talmud in the style of your own devising.
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