Any of you that know me, know that I have an unhealthy obsession with all things Down Under. When Inky and I went to Oz a few years back all we did was make it ten time worse, by opening ourselves up to parts of their pop culture that we don't get here. On part was Rove Live, or now just Rove a TV show that smacks of Mid 80's style Letterman, which was when he was his best. Inky and I both loved Rove McManus and his show on Nine Network, and we also enjoyed a lot of other TV as we rested out tired feet from hours and hours of walking during the day and evening.
Now Rove is on Ten, which also has a hit show called Thank God You're Here, which we have imported to the US and to NBC. NBC seems to lead the league in shows brought from over seas, even thought the biggest one, Idol, is on FOX. The American version of Thank God is pretty much a carbon copy of the Aussie original, right down to the Theme Song "Come Anytime" by Sydney rockers Hoodoo Gurus.
The premise of the show is simple; a guest actor comes on and is sent through a blue door by Host David Allen Greer. Once through the door the actor encounters a scene where all the other actors know what's going on and our guest has to use improv skills to be funny, but also just to keep up. Their performance is judged by Dave Foley, who in the end pick the best of the 4 guests based on how well they fit into the unfamiliar surroundings and how funny they were.
The Guest stars that were featured on the first two episodes were: Wayne Knight, Joel McHale, Bryan Cranston, Jennifer Cranston, Mo'Nique, Edie McClurg, Richard Kind, and Kevon Nealon. Some like McHale, Cranston and Nealon have been outstanding while just about all of them were at the very least laugh-out-loud funny. Adding to the impact of the skits is the group of "regulars" headed by Maribeth Monroe who has been great in each of the scenes she has appeared in. The other three are also very skilled improv actors and I look forward to seeing more of Chris Tallman, Nyima Funk and Brian Palermo as the season goes on.
All in all this is a very enjoyable hour of TV, even if we didn't come up with the idea first. Hell, the Australian show is really just a version of Who's Line Is It Anyway, which we also copied and which may have been funny if not for Drew Carey. It's just nice to see something that's a bit different from all the other junk on the tube these days.