Well, if you weren't at last night's performance of What's My Line? - Live on Stage (and if you weren't and live in the LA area, shame on you), you missed what may have been the funniest show ever. The panel last night consisted of Kate Flannery (of NBC's The Office), Greg Proops (of Whose Line Is Is Anyway? fame), Debra Wilson Skelton (of MADtv and Reno 911 fame), and the talented and entertaining Barry Saltzman, a What's My Line? regular. The contestants included a young woman whose line was selling paper (a tip of the hat to Ms. Flannery), another young woman who turned out to be an FBI agent, though you would never guess it to look at her, and, signing in as Mr. X, the legendary Leonard Stern, writer of such classic TV series as The Honeymooners, The Phil Silvers Show, Get Smart, I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, He and She, and many others, though Mr. Stern was there last evening in his capacity as the co-creator of Mad Libs, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. The Mystery Guest this week was Jasmine Guy, star of the TV series A Different World and Dead Like Me, and as charming and entertaining a Mystery Guest as we've had.
It's not that the panel was particularly brilliant last night, though they usually are. In point of fact, the only occupation they guessed was the lady paper seller, and that was only because the show's accomplished host, J. Keith Van Straaten, artfully steered them back on course after they'd asked if the product the young lady sold might be paper-like or paperish, and then promptly forgot all about that. No, it was just that, as with any spontaneous live performance, there was the constant sense that tonight, just this once, everything was going to go completely out of control. Trust me. You had to be there. I laughed so hard over the hour-and-a-half of the performance that I almost gave myself a sore throat.
This coming Sunday, I will be back on the panel instead of sitting in the audience. My fellow panelists are comedian/actress Suzy Nakamura (from last season's short-lived comedy Help Me Help You), former Jeopardy! champion and radio commentator Bob Harris (author of the fascinating book Prisoner of Trebekistan), and the always-hysterical Teresa Ganzel. You can learn more about the show and how to buy tickets by clicking here. Right now, there are only two more shows left this season. If you miss them, you'll never forgive yourself.
So, I expect you see you in the audience this coming Sunday. Don't disappoint me. I'll be taking attendance.
SHUT IN THEATER: Weekend Reading 178
56 minutes ago