By CORY MATTESON and JORDAN PASCALE / Lincoln Journal Star
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What would normally be a rough night for the sound tech at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts turned out to be one of the better running gags of the night for the foursome of “Whose Live Anyway?”, a live take on the improvisational TV show of the similar name.
The improv comics, led by Ryan Stiles, did what they do best — play off the mishaps all night, creating even bigger laughs than had everything gone perfectly.
Jeff Davis worked some lines about the faulty sound equipment into his Neil Diamond impression after the microphone of fellow singer Chip Esten, doing a knock-’em-dead Bruce Springsteen, died.
That happened during a song that one can apparently find on the 400-track, three CD collection of songs about track and field. Surely you’ve heard of it.
Or not. But the audience was clearly familiar with the “Greatest Hits” game concept, where Stiles and Joel Murray forced Davis and Esten to sing in styles that included country and, uh, jazzy French, perhaps?
The 90-minute show featured a few games recognizable from “Whose Line is it Anyway?” They played many of the best games from the show: forward/reverse, moving people, sound effects, greatest hits and sentences. That’s the one where people in the audience write lines that actors pull from their pockets and read, and go from there.
At the Lied Center, the audience roared as Stiles and Davis plucked pieces of paper out throughout the course of a soap opera scene set at a cemetery. (An audience member suggestion the show be titled, “One Life to Live.”) Like the rest of the games recognizable from the show, which is making a comeback on the CW Network this July, it worked well onstage.
Let’s see if it works at the end of this review:
(Thumbs through notes for one of the sentences suggested by the audience.)
“The test came back positive.”
Is this thing on?