By George Lenker – The Republican Newspaper – Boston, MA – April 8th, 2004

      Greg Proops seems to be avoiding the press. It’s more than an hour after his scheduled interview for this story, and the comedian still hasn’t called. In the end, his publicist asks if the interview questions can be e-mailed to him.

      Reporters hate this sort of interview because it doesn’t allow for pertinent follow-up questions or any natural conversational flow. But in order to get the story for Proops’ Saturday show at The Comedy Connection in Chicopee’s Hu Ke Lau, the questions get e-mailed.

      You may not know Proops’ name, but you probably know his face. His trademark 1960s-styled hair, suits and glasses set him apart, as does his quick, cheeky wit. Most people will recognize Proops as a regular on the improvisational comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” moderated by Drew Carey. Proops also has made numerous appearances on the original British version of that show.

      While “Whose Line” may have made Proops more recognizable, it’s hardly his only gig. He has also been sighted on such shows as “The Drew Carey Show,” “The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn,” “Crank Yankers,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Politically Incorrect,” and “The Wayne Brady Show.”

      Proops’ somewhat cartoonish voice has made him natural for animation and voice-over work. After portraying Fode, one half of the pod race announcer in the hit motion picture “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” Proops has now done the voices in the new animated film “Kaena the Prophecy” as well as in Disney’s new animated feature “Brother Bear.”

      When Proops finally e-mails his answers to the questions, he apologizes and explains he can’t get to a phone because “I’m in the middle of a crash course in Spanish and I’m losing my cabeza.” Below is a transcript of the cyber-exchange.

First, why do I have to e-mail these questions? Are you afraid to talk to me? Would it help draw you out if I taunted you with chicken-like clucks like this: Brawwwk! Buk-buk brawk!

      Due to the nature of my work I’m forbidden to call Massachusetts without Alpha clearance. Nothing personal. Stop molting on me.

OK, seriously, before the U.S. version came about, you were on the British version of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Did you have anything to do with creating the U.S. version with Drew Carey?

      I didn’t help create the U.S. version but I have distinguished myself as the most devastatingly handsome one on the show.

Speaking of things British, you worked with Michael Palin and Terry Jones (of Monty Python) for a Peter Cook Foundation benefit show. How was that? Are you a Python fan?

      Terry Jones was a giant lambchop. Michael Palin is everything I respect. Intelligence, sensitivity, breadth of experience. The both of them are bright, vital and completely irreplaceable. It was a superb experience. I was thrilled to be in the same room with so many comedy idols. I just hope I was biting and nasty enough to honor the memory of the God-like Peter Cook.

      For those not familiar, Peter Cook was Dudley Moore’s partner in England. He founded (the comedy troupe) Beyond the Fringe with eminent playwright Alan Bennett, Dr. Jonathan Miller and Moore. They are the link between the Goons with Peter Sellers and the Pythons. The best of Cook and Moore is the original movie of “Bedazzled” with Peter Cook as the devil. Hard-core people will worship “Derek and Clive Live,” the drunkest, dirtiest, funniest, cleverest album ever.

Here’s my one cliche’ question: How did you get interested in doing comedy?

      I have no skills.

You do a lot of improv. Talk about how that differs from regular stand-up, and which do you prefer?

      Stand up is the source. Improv is the fountain. Stand up is a laser beam. Improv is a super soaker. Stand up is a tray of chocolates. Improv is a piñata.

You have a stylish, retro-yet-modern look. Is that something you developed for your act or is it just your natural sense of style?

      I believe that the early sixties were a tremendous fashion zone. You wouldn’t like me in a tank top and shower shoes.

Your voice is also very distinctive. Has this helped in getting voice-over work for animated films? Speaking of cartoons, who is your favorite cartoon character of all time and why?

      My voice has a penetrating nasal quality. I love doing voices, I channel the ones in my head. My favorite cartoon character is Daffy Duck because he’s furious and has no integrity whatsoever.

If you weren’t doing comedy, what would you be doing for a living? Why?

      Petty criminal. I seriously have no other skills.

Have you ever had a scorpion bowl (a very large mixed drink)? I’m originally from Chicopee and I recommend having one at the Hu Ke Lau.

      No but I’ve had a scorpion beat me in miniature golf. If it has booze in it, it is my best friend. Chicopee sounds freaky; let’s all have a bowl of scorpion.

One last thing: Brawk, buk-buk-buk, brawwwwk!

      Why did you cross the road?

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