By Nicole DeCosta – The Daily Barometer – 2004

      “I couldn’t be happier that I’m a comedian,” Greg Proops said. “We’re paid to be children. My job is to think of funny things about what’s really happening.”

      Tonight Drew Carey and the Improv All-Stars from the ABC hit “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” take the the stage at Gill Coliseum. Prepare yourself for audience involvement, on-the-spot comedy, and your legends of laughter center stage.

      “We do a lot of audience participation,” said comedian Greg Proops. “We’re going to bring people out, so be ready. Don’t wear jeans with stains – you might be pulled on stage.”

      In a telephone interview with Diversions, I learned that Proops is a lot more than just a witty guy with glasses, adoring attention. He carves his jack-o-lanterns upside-down, takes his wife’s advice, and is looking forward to his new show with Drew Carey called “Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show.”

      Growing up in San Francisco, this boy was no slacker. He always had an itch for the entertainment industry. Attending college at both San Mateo Junior College and San Francisco University, Proops grew impatient for comedic relief. The improvisation group Faultline with Mike McShane proved to be exactly the motivation this superstar-in-the-works needed.

      “I learned self-reliance from the other students,” said Proops, who just turned 45. “We had great teachers, but I learned the most from the other students. They were very motivated and put on their own shows. I learned how to act and do stand up.”

      (Note to dads: We can have playtime in college and still be successful. Just because you call and we’re not in the library doesn’t mean we’re not successfully doing something else.)

      “I didn’t graduate college and I’ve managed to have a nice life,” Proops said, although he attended college for over four years.

      So how did this self-made funny man land a gig like “Whose Line is it Anyway?” in both the UK and America? Talent.

      In 1989, Proops appeared on the UK’s “Whose Line is it Anyway?” which he finds different than the American version with comedian Drew Carey.

      “The energy is different,” he said. “There’s a little more air in the England show. There’s less commercials in England. America is more energetic and wall-to-wall.”

      Proops explained how American shows gain more airtime by showing the program’s credits on a split screen while entertainment continues on the other half of the screen.

      “They don’t let you rest here,” he said.

      And it seems like he hasn’t rested in a while. From spending time on both continents doing comedy routines, and appearing on “The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn,” “The Drew Carey Show,” “Just Shoot Me,” “The Wayne Brady Show,” “Hollywood Squares” and “Politically Incorrect”, this comic is not the least bit camera shy. C’mon. He performed at Prince Charles’ 50th Royal Birthday Gala, and who else has been Pamela Anderson’s scientist (well, at least in cartoon form)?

      Proops’ career seems to be turning animated, and I’m not just talking about his personality. Proops provided the voice of a mad scientist in Pamela Anderson’s former series “Striperella” on Spike TV (TNN).

      “(‘Striperella’) was really silly,” Proops explained. “Certainly adult… it was fairly ironic and funny. Pam is very physically small.”

      Really? His eyes actually escaped her… well, after all, he’s happily married to his wife, Jennifer.

      Proops has also been featured in Disney’s animated film “Brother Bear” and as the worm Gommi in “Kaena the Prophecy,” starring Kirsten Dunst. He’s currently looking forward to the premier of his new WB show “Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show” with long-time pal Drew Carey. The show will feature comedians doing improvisational skits and animation will be added later.

      “It’s shot in front of a giant green screen and they hand it out to the animators and every single (genre) is represented,” Proops said. “It takes months for them to produce it.”

      Proops says working with Carey is the best part of working on “Whose Line is it Anyway?” in America since the show’s premiere in 1998.

      “(Carey) is a generous guy,” Proops said, explaining that the two of them met through comedy circles 15 years ago. Upon beginning their work relationship a few years back, Carey flew the group out to the Super Bowl.

      I bet that was an interesting plane ride… grown men do impersonations of flight attendants and football players – or flight attendants that just look like football players.

      Sometimes, it’s just too difficult to keep composure when working with some of the other “Whose Line” greats, including Charles “Chip” Esten, Sean Masterson, Colin Mochrie, and Brad Sherwood, all of whom will perform in tonight’s show. You just have to laugh.

      “I’m not capable of keeping a character so I just laugh,” Proops said. “(The cast) are very big fans of each other. I just go with the flow.”

      And tonight, OSU will also be traveling that current, not knowing who will be the ‘chosen ones’ accompanying the impromptu masters with skits and writing.

      So, how do these “Whose Line” Improv All-Stars prepare backstage?

      “Well, I’d like to say we do yoga or something, but it’s more like everyone eats and drinks. It’s sort of ‘locker-roomie,'” said Proops, who truly appreciates his fans worldwide.

      On his official Web site, gregproops.com, Proops personally reads each message from his fans.

      “I do read everything,” he said. “And I’m aware that 20 percent of the world hates me at any given time. (But for the most part) people are generally very, very nice.”

      He appreciates smiles in airports and felt sneaky the other day when he saw actress Meg Ryan in California because he used to make fun of her… without her knowledge or consent, of course.

      “My advice is always don’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” Proops said. “In show business, people are keen to tell you ‘no’ rather than to help you. You have to preserve against that.”

      And he has.

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