By Deborah L. Kunesh – The Daily Herald – April 4th, 2008

      As any improv fan already knows, Greg Proops, best known for his role on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”, has a quick sense of wit.

      Asked what it was like working with Drew Carey, he had a fast reply.

      “He’s a horrible human being. He wears ladies underwear, he carries a whip. I don’t know where to begin with him.”

      Fans of the show will quickly realize that this answer is all part of the game: friendly digs made at someone who is mutually admired by the cast, which Carey handles gracefully with knowing laughter.

      In fact, Proops is very sincere in his admiration for his friend and co-star.

      “Drew is a very close friend of mine and we get along quite well and mutually admire one another. Of all the people in show business that I’ve ever dealt with, he’s the most loyal and the most straight-up.”

      Carey chose Proops to accompany him in his coverage of the 2006 World Cup, where Carey took photos of the event for The Travel Channel. Proops said that Carey chose him for his knowledge of soccer.

      Proops lived in England for four years while working on the UK version of “Whose Line”, and now lives in LA, though Europe is still a favorite place for him to return.

      “I love going there,” said Proops. Very popular in Europe, he’s sold out the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for more than 10 years.

      Though he favors his overseas travels, Chicago is a favorite destination.

      “I love Zanie’s in Chicago! I’m very excited to be playing there the whole week,” Proops said. “It’s intimate. Not many seats. I love that about it. I think the people in Chicago are intelligent and hip. It’s New York without the murder. I think Chicago has got it going on.”

      While in town, he visits museums and catches a Cubs game.

      “I also maybe have a pizza or something,” said Proops.

      Proops started doing stand-up as a teenager, though he also worked as a paper boy, pizza delivery man, janitor, busboy and waiter.

      “I never wanted to do anything else,” said Proops. “I thought I wanted to be an actor, but the lure of being in clubs was too great for me. The instant gratification of comedy was too irresistible.”

      Currently the voice of Humphrey the Hamster on audio books, Proops was also the voice of “Bob the Builder,” the popular children’s show.

      “That was a very lucky gig,” said Proops. “I was in London and my voice agent sent me out. I started doing a funny voice and they said ‘no, do your voice.’ So sadly, my voice apparently sounds like a cartoon.”

      They ended up giving him the job that same day, which is rare.

      One of the highlights of his career was being asked to perform at Prince Charles’ 50th birthday gala.

      “It was a really wild show,” said Proops, who was there with the likes of Elle McPherson, Ginger Spice, Peter Ustinov, Roger Moore and Robbie Williams. Proops even has a framed letter from the Prince thanking him for his participation.

      Proops also was named L.A.’s best-dressed comic by LA Weekly.

      “I like to be a little more adult. I think the audience perceives you a little differently. I really enjoy wearing a suit and tie on stage, like I didn’t just fall out of my closet. At home I’m not wearing a suit and tie when I’m barbecuing, but I definitely believe you should try to dress up a little bit on stage.”

      Proops’ comedy includes a lot of political, as well as pop culture jokes.

      “Whoever is in power is who I make fun of,” said Proops. “When I do stand-up, I’m not as cute and adorable as I am on ‘Whose Line.’ I have a little more of an opinion. I’m not dirty in any way, but I’m a little more profane. You’ll get where I’m coming from politically without me explaining too much on stage.”

      Besides his affinity for making people laugh, there is a more serious side to Proops.

      “Aside from getting married, which is probably the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Proops, “getting to meet different people has been the funnest thing for me.”

      Perhaps most memorable for Proops was meeting Deborah Harry.

      “I did an ACLU benefit a year ago and got to meet Deborah Harry, which I was beside myself with ecstasy,” said Proops. “When I was a teenager, Deborah Harry was ‘it.’ She was so nice and sweet and since then she’s come to see me perform, so you can imagine.”

      Proops also seriously values his friendships.

      “Show business is tough, and you don’t meet a lot of people who are lovable,” said Proops. “Ryan Stiles, Drew Carey and Craig Ferguson have actually put themselves on the line and helped me in my life, and for that I love them forever and they have my undying loyalty. (With them) it’s not all about the money. It’s about being funny and being friends and being a good person.

      When Proops isn’t out sharing his talent for comedy, he loves to travel with his wife, Jennifer, go to baseball games, read and watch old movies.

      As for the best part of being on “Whose Line?”:

      “It’s allowed me to travel all over the world; it’s allowed me to have a career, and it’s the reason why a lot of people know me, so really the whole experience has been the best part.”

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