Whose Line Is It Anyway? TV Poster Image

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

(i)

 

Hilarious improv comedy has some risque stuff.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Actors' imitations of celebrities and each other can be stereotypical. Body size, excess (or lack of) hair, stature, and other physical characteristics can take a beating, as can lifestyle choices, faith, and cultural markers. None of the content is meant to be malicious, and everyone gets a good laugh from it.

Positive role models

The cast members' diverse talents are on display in every episode, and they aren't afraid of setting up jokes at their own expense.

Violence

Mock scuffles and injuries are common in the skits, and they're all staged for laughs. Some games/skits occasionally involve gross or cringe-inducing footage (for example, an up-close view of dental surgery, with a little blood).

Sex

Innuendos and sex-related physical comedy are a central theme of the show. Use of "pornography" as a media genre in improv games is common, as are motions that suggest exposed genitalia, breasts, and butts. Some games lead to physical contact between the players, and they're adept at making such exchanges seem sexually motivated.

Language

Occasional usage of words like "damn," "hell," and "my God." Stronger ones like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.

Consumerism

Later episodes see the inclusion of guest stars where audience members' participation used to be, and when visitors like Kevin McHale and Lauren Cohan stop by, their TV projects get a few plugs as well.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Beer and wine bottles appear occasionally as props, and the cast members sometimes drink from them in skits and act like they're drunk. The same goes for drugs; use is implied, but in a comical way.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Whose Line Is It Anyway? is an improvisational comedy series whose cast members frequently use sexual innuendo, body part references, racial and gender stereotyping, and physical attributes like weight, hair loss, and stature for jokes. Many of the games encourage physical interplay, so there are many instances of suggestive positions that get laughs as well. Language is also a concern, with "f--k" and "s--t" bleeped, but lighter fare like "hell" and "damn" audible. Because it's unscripted, there's no telling what's around the corner in any of the improv games, and some of the content is too mature for tweens. The series has been through two American incarnations (following the British original from the '90s), with progressively looser standards of what's acceptable content. The bottom line? This hilarious show is well worth your time, but you'll want to screen each episode's subject matter if you're hoping to watch with your tweens.

What's the story?

WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? is a long-running improv comedy series that originated in Britain before being imported to the U.S. for a makeover and running for eight years with host Drew Carey. The most recent version features Aisha Tyler at the helm. The show features a cast of four comedians who play improv games like "Props," "Scenes From a Hat," "Party Quirks," "Duet," and "Sideways Scene," usually from thematic suggestions from the live studio audience and occasionally involving a few lucky participants. Longtime cast members Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, and Wayne Brady are joined by a rotating line-up of guest performers in the latest version of the series.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Riotously funny and unpredictable at every turn, Whose Line Is It Anyway? continuously sets new standards for comedy. Whether you're watching 20-year-old British episodes or brand-new American ones, the off-the-cuff laughs are guaranteed to amuse. There's no faking the brilliance of these performers, and because the games and set-ups change each episode, there's nothing redundant about the content.

Not surprisingly, though, this kind of entertainment often comes at the cost of some pretty mature subject matter, and the mostly male cast has a lot of fun working in allusions to penis and breast size, sexual orientation, and a host of other topics that will raise some eyebrows, not to mention the implications of games that put the performers in compromising physical positions. Exercise caution with regard to your tweens, but for older teens and other adults, it's hard to beat this laugh-out-loud classic.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the issue of what stretches the boundaries of comedy. When is a joke taken too far? Why is sexual comedy so enticing to the actors -- and the audience?

  • Is stereotyping a necessary evil in comedy? Where is the line between funny and hurtful, especially when someone is the subject of impersonation?

  • What accounts for a show's sustainability? Does this series' style have a longer lifespan than the average sitcom does? If so, why? How are the comedians able to keep the jokes so fresh?

TV details

Premiere date:August 5, 1998
Cast:Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady
Networks:Freeform, CW
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Music and sing-along
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Whose Line Is It Anyway? was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 16 years old Written bysb1254 May 4, 2011

A funny show, but parents be ready with that mute button.

This is a hilarious show with great laughs for everyone, but be warned the innuendo can get pretty bad. Parents, if you're showing this to younger kids, stay on that mute button or be ready to change the channel cause you will need to filter it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN May 20, 2011

Ryan Stiles is my favorite!!

There is no way anyone can watch this and not laugh until you pee your pants! One of the funniest things in the world is to watch people do improvisation. These guys do it so well. The millions of things they make up off the top of their heads is mind-blowing. Sexual stuff does get a little risque at times, but not all the time though. At times there's minor language as well. Sometimes they even get the audience in on the skits! Wouldn't that be fun to do?
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byEmiEss August 21, 2011

You'll laugh so hard, you'll laugh some more.

This is my favorite show, I'm not going to lie. It's so funny and clever. I grew up watching this and the Drew Carey Show (That was what, 12 years ago?) I thought it was funny, but aaaalll the innuendos flew over my head. It really is more worth it when you actually get the jokes :3 Lots of references to people younger kids today wouldn't get unless they know about 90s pop culture for some reason. The show is so casual and fun to watch because the people on it are all friends and know each other from the Drew Carey Show and reference it quite a lot. Definitely more laid back than the original U.K. version.
What other families should know
Too much sex

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!