By Rachael Recker – The Grand Rapids Press – April 25th, 2010

      It’s hard being Greg Proops, especially during a “Whose Live Anyway?” show when the San Francisco native is doing all he can to keep Ryan Stiles, Chip Esten and Jeff Davis afloat.

      “Well, they’re dead weight. You know, I’ve been carrying these guys for years. For me, as the sexually appealing one, to have to drag the audience along — pretend that we think they’re funny all the time with their singing and antics and whatnot — it’s difficult for me,” the actor, stand-up and improv comedian deadpanned recently during a phone interview from a Florida hotel room, where he was being delivered a star’s dinner: a cheeseburger.

      Proops considers it a pleasure performing in the 90-minute improv show mirrored after the television show, “Whose Line is it Anyway?,” coming Thursday to Forest Hills Fine Arts Center. The show marks the start of a nine-date tour.

      The audience-interactive show is both “fun” and “unpredictable,” Proops said. All the audience really needs to do for a show like “Whose Live” is to come prepared to participate. Proops et al will “handle the funny.”

      “We bring people out of the audience, sing songs to them. We do a bit where we can’t move unless they move us and another bit where they have to do all the sound effects in a scene. So I think it’s a lot more engaging.

      “Watching improv on TV is like watching it through a window. But when you’re there with us, there’s no escaping us. So I hope you wear something you like to the show.”

      Proops first performed in the British version of “Whose Line,” with host Clive Anderson and alongside Stiles, as well as the American version on ABC with host Drew Carey.

      Asked to choose his favorite host, Proops is torn … for a moment.

      “You mean the Fat Guy or the Bald Guy? I mean, I adore Clive, because he’s unbelievable. He’s one of the quickest people I’ve ever met in my life. But there’s nothing Drew Carey hasn’t done for me as a friend and as a show-business colleague,” Proops said. “So I would take a bullet for Drew.”

      Proops, who recently headlined shows at Dr. Grin’s Comedy Club at The B.O.B., stars in Nickelodeon’s comedy series “True Jackson VP,” does voice work for film and TV and also performs with Stiles in a two-man improv show titled “Unplanned.”

      “I’m in a group with Ryan Stiles, and that’s like being in a group with Babe Ruth. He just points at the fences,” Proops, a baseball fanatic, said. “He’s pretty G-D-good, as they say.”

      Performing with Stiles, as well as Esten and Davis, is still as fun as it ever was for Proops.

      “At this late date, we find each othre wildly amusing,” he said.

      Anyone attending should plan on an equally amusing time.

      “Sometimes you can stop and start and never get off the ground (in improv). But we hit the ground running,” Proops said of the “Whose Live” team. “I think they (the audience) should come ready to play. It’s a little more like hanging out with us, which I think is the fun part.”

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